C O N T E N T SP A G E1-2       Biofuels - challenges and the future          The Department of Communications, Energy and...
BIOENERGY NEWS                                                                                                            ...
a biofuels obligation in 2009 which will remain untouched for biofuels                   light of the emerging concerns in...
BIOENERGY NEWS                                                                                                            ...
Hardwood fuel from our new forestsTom Kent,Waterford Institute of TechnologySéamus Dunne, Forest Service, Department of Ag...
BIOENERGY NEWS                                                                                                            ...
Incorporating low energy designinto our schoolsJohn Dolan, Energy Programme Co-ordinator and Senior Engineer,Department of...
BIOENERGY NEWS                                                                                                            ...
optimum land use and usability on        Biomass demonstration project The Department’s other energy research    restricte...
BIOENERGY NEWS                                                                                                            ...
Bio-CNG: transport fuel for the future?Dr Jerry D Murphy, Department of Civil and EnvironmentalEngineering and Environment...
BIOENERGY NEWS                                                                                                            ...
Large scale biomass projects by PowertechFrancis Martin, PowertechFrancis Martin the M.D. of Powertech       Geothermal he...
BIOENERGY NEWS                                                                                                            ...
Biofuels roadmap for Europe– The REFUEL projectMarc Londo, ECN,The NetherlandsBiofuels production and consumption         ...
BIOENERGY NEWS                                                                                                            ...
IFA’s plan to access farm forestryenergy potentialGeraldine O’Sullivan, IFA, Farm Forestry Development OfficerOver 210,000...
BIOENERGY NEWS                                                                                                           S...
€6 million investment by D Pellet Limited fornew wood pellet plant in KilkennyLarry Doyle, D Pellet Ltd                   ...
BioEnergy News 2008 - Ireland
BioEnergy News 2008 - Ireland
BioEnergy News 2008 - Ireland
BioEnergy News 2008 - Ireland
BioEnergy News 2008 - Ireland
BioEnergy News 2008 - Ireland
BioEnergy News 2008 - Ireland
BioEnergy News 2008 - Ireland
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BioEnergy News 2008 - Ireland

  1. 1. BIOENERGY NEWS2008
  2. 2. C O N T E N T SP A G E1-2 Biofuels - challenges and the future The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources3 A roadmap for sustainable bioenergy supply in Ireland Pearse Buckley – Sustainable Energy Ireland4-5 Hardwood fuel from our new forests Tom Kent,Waterford Institute of Technology Séamus Dunne, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food6-8 Incorporating low energy design into our schools John Dolan, Energy Programme Co-ordinator and Senior Engineer, Department of Education and Science9 Balcas delivers brites on time throughout Ireland Richard Smith, Brites Business Manager, Balcas10-11 Bio-CNG: transport fuel for the future? Dr Jerry D Murphy,University College Cork12-13 Large scale biomass projects by Powertech Francis Martin, Powertech14-15 Biofuels roadmap for Europe – The REFUEL project Marc Londo, ECN,The Netherlands16-17 IFA’s plan to access farm forestry energy potential Geraldine O’Sullivan, IFA Farm Forestry Development Office18 €6 million investment by D Pellet Limited for new wood pellet plant in Kilkenny Larry Doyle, D Pellet Ltd19-20 Providing green energy: the role of the common agricultural policy Andreas Pilzecker, European Commission Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, F6 Bioenergy, Biomass, Climate Change & Forestry21-22 Growning of Hemp in Ireland (Cannabis Sativa) Barry Caslin, Bioenergy Specialist,Teagasc23-24 IrBEA – developing the bioenergy industry in Ireland Vicky Heslop, President IrBEA25 SEI REIO Resources26 Recommended events* front cover shot: cereal fields
  3. 3. BIOENERGY NEWS 2008Biofuels – challenges and the futureThe Department of Communications, Energy and Natural ResourcesIntroduction of their production, use and impact. the surge in commodities prices wouldThere have been mounting concerns Biofuels have a role, and it is an have happened even without biofuels,expressed about the consequences of important one. noting that “a sharp drop in supplyincreased global demand for feedstocks mainly due to adverse weather condi-for biofuels, some rational, others less so. Increasing global food prices and tions in top producing countries such asGiven that the draft Renewable Energy concerns about possible food security Australia, tight stocks worldwide andDirective, published in January 2008, sets issues, particularly in the developing higher demand for food in developinga mandatory target of 10% inclusion of world, have led to a series of calls for countries were playing the biggest rolebiofuels in road transport fuels by 2020, reviews of biofuels policies. These in the rally”and that“the supply shortfallit is important to examine the role bio- concerns appear to have been brought in the main grain producing countries --fuels can play in combating climate to a head by reports from the various UN the United States, Canada, Australia andchange and helping us deal with Development and Food Agencies as to the European Union -- had been of 60increasing energy prices, and the impact an impending supply shortage, and the million tons, four times as large as thethey have had on communities and social, human, and economic effects it increase in demand (for biofuels) ” .commerce. would have in developing countries. It is also clear, from a series of other re-Crucially, biofuels are not a ‘silver bullet’ It is important to note that while these ports, that the manner in which biofuelssolution to either greenhouse gas conditions have been partly caused by are produced is crucial in determiningemissions or fuel security. In their first the increasing use of crops as feedstock their sustainability. Some productiongeneration guise (where the main for energy production, there are a pathways result in negligible (or evenfeedstocks are commodities that can number of other factors at work that negative) energy gains (and thus GHGalso be used as food, along with waste have been instrumental also. Drought in savings).The growth in demand has alsoproducts), there are clear limits to their major grain producing regions such as led to the destruction of importantproduction and use. Yield of finished Australia has had serious impacts on habitats (and carbon sinks) and to thefuels per hectare are often low; it would global output of cereals. Moreover, displacement of indigenous communi-be extremely difficult for the EU to meet increasing demand for food, not least ties in some parts of the world. If theits proposed 10% target by 2020 from due to the developing purchasing developed world is to make use of theseexisting tillage land using extant tech- power of large numbers of consumers in fuels, it is crucial that we do so in anologies. The amount of energy gained Asia and a resulting demand for‘western’ way that is environmentally sound,from the fuels can vary widely, with foods, such as white bread and beef has commercially viable and not harmful tosome producing very little savings at all. also played a role. Equally, measures human rights or welfare.And perhaps most importantly, taken by some governments to reduceincreased demand for the feedstocks exports have also had an impact on Measures to datehave been blamed for encouraging global inventories and prices. The Programme for Governmentdeforestation, increased food prices and underlines our commitment to thefor displacing people from their land. Analysis carried out for the EU sustainable development of an IrishHowever, these fuels do offer a clear Commission in the preparation of the biofuels market. The biofuels Mineral Oilopportunity in terms of ensuring greater draft Renewable Energy Directive Tax Relief (MOTR) schemes have resultedsecurity of supply and of reducing GHG suggests that the cumulative impact of a in biofuels already being mainstreamedemissions from transport. Given the fact 10% biofuels target for EU member in blends of up to 5% at a number ofthat the transport sector has proven to states would be a 3%-6% rise in cereal existing petrol and diesel pumps withbe one of the most globally intractable prices, with (for example) the price of oil higher blends being sold to identifiedin terms of emissions reduction, this seed rape rising by approximately 8%. vehicle fleets (both bioethanol andis particularly important. Moreover, On the other hand, prices of animal feed biodiesel).increased demand for agricultural will fall due to the increased availabilitycommodities, if managed sensibly, has of co-products. Projects granted relief under the MOTRthe potential to return economic include operations producing fuels fromviability to rural communities around There is also significant evidence that a number of waste to energy streamsthe world. Therefore, while there are those other factors listed above have (including animal and milk by- productslimits to their use and some difficulties played a much more important role than and recovered vegetable oil) along withassociated with their production, it is increased demands for biofuels in the more conventional cereals basedcritical that we rely on a rational analysis recent past. The OECD have stated that projects. Ireland will also be introducing 1
  4. 4. a biofuels obligation in 2009 which will remain untouched for biofuels light of the emerging concerns inrequire all fuel suppliers to ensure that production. relation to sustainability, will be fullybiofuels represent a certain percentage factored in and will be publicly debated.of their annual fuel sales. The Slovenian Presidency has set up an Specific details of the obligation will be ad hoc group to coordinate a position developed as part of the consultationOne of the objectives of the biofuels on the sustainability criteria for biofuels. process. The recent introduction by theobligation is to enable Ireland to move DCENR take an active role in the work of UK of a biofuels obligation will also beprogressively towards meeting EU this group in close consultation with the closely monitored by us for lessons to betargets for biofuels penetration in a cost- Department of Environment, Heritage learned.effective way while taking full account of and Local Government and theenvironmental sustainability in line with Department of Agriculture. OurEU developments. Ireland is currently objective is to ensure that theworking to deliver the target of 5.75% conclusions reached by this group willpenetration of biofuels by 2010. The EU strike a careful balance to ensure theCommission’s new Renewable Energy optimum outcome in terms of reducingDirective proposes a minimum GHG emissions in transport, providingmandatory target for all member states real opportunities for developingof 10% market penetration of biofuels in countries based on robust sustainabilitytransport by 2020. The directive is criteria and at the same time minimisingcurrently under discussion with a view risks in terms of food production andto Council Agreement by end 2008. The increasing our security of fuel supplies. The futureGovernment is committed to existing First generation biofuels, or biofuelstargets, but they must be set in the As things stand currently, the feedstocks made from food crops, offer realcontext of a framework for robust used for biofuels production by Member opportunities, but can have significantsustainability criteria in relation to states are generally sourced on the open limitations, not least in terms of theproduction and deployment. The internationally traded commodities volumes that can be produced fromCommission has proposed such a market with little or no information farmland.The solution to this problem isframework in the new Renewable about their origins. It is only by setting to use crops that are higher yielding, andEnergy Directive. stringent sustainability criteria that which can be grown on land less member states will be able to verify the suitable for producing food crops.Sustainability criteria source of these fuels, and mitigate the Unfortunately, processing theseIn establishing these targets, the cumulative effect of unsustainable cellulosic feedstocks has proven to beCommission recognises that while practices. The Government fully very difficult, and commercially viablebiofuels could offer opportunities for supports the Commission’s work to second generation biofuels are stilldeveloping countries, sustainability in ensure that member states agree a generally reckoned to be five years away.the production and use of biofuels rigorous sustainability framework under There has been very considerable globalwould be critical. In setting out a the new directive. Monitoring, investment in research in this area, notmandatory target of 10% biofuels verification and compliance will of least through our own Charles Parsonspenetration by 2020, the Draft Renew- course be critical to the effectiveness of research awards. As set out above, bothable Energy Directive also includes the sustainability criteria. Moreover, the sustainability criteria and thesustainability criteria designed to set these criteria will place a premium on forthcoming Biofuels Obligationminimum standards, which biofuels more sustainable biofuels, further Scheme are aimed at encouraging andhave to meet in order to be considered encouraging investment in second facilitating more sustainable productionas eligible for the targets. The generation fuels.These fuels, made from of first generation biofuels, andCommission’s proposals set out a range non food crops, are much more encouraging investment in secondof environmental sustainability criteria, productive in terms of fuel produced per generation technology.which would be mandatory and subject hectare and do not have a direct effectto verification. The criteria will set strict on food prices. Recent events have shown us thattargets for biofuels in terms of the GHG biofuels are not without their difficulties.emissions they must save before they Biofuels obligation However, with careful management andcan be considered eligible as counting DCENR is currently finalising a appropriate regulation, we stand to gain,towards national targets. The criteria consultation paper in relation to the environmentally and socially, from thealso preclude changing land use from proposed biofuels obligation which will use of these fuels, and we can do solong established forest or grasslands to be rolled out shortly and allow all without compromising the livelihood orgrowing feedstock for biofuels, and also interested stakeholders to submit their wellbeing of people elsewhere on theinclude measures to ensure that views on the proposal. In that context, planet.protected species and ecosystems EU developments on biofuels policy in 2
  5. 5. BIOENERGY NEWS SUMMER 2008A roadmap for sustainable bioenergysupply in IrelandPearse Buckley, Sustainable Energy IrelandBioenergy in Ireland is undergoing resources compared to the present level. produced a foundation for the roadmap.significant change in recent years with a The current use of bioenergy in Ireland It includes a resource dataset which isnumber of important developments. (in 2006), mainly as renewable heat in derived from the best availableFollowing the publication of 1Bioenergy wood industries (using wood fuel) and information at the time. This could formin Ireland the Ministerial Task Force on animal rendering facilities (using tallow), the basis of an updatable databaseBioenergy, which was formed in 2006, is 9 PJ (218 ktoe) or about 1.4% of the which would be an integral part of thewas designed to ensure delivery of a Total Primary Energy Requirement. 3To roadmap.coordinated, inter-departmental action achieve the targets identified inplan on bioenergy. The output of its Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future forFinally, sustainability is fundamental todeliberations – the Bioenergy Action Plan Ireland would require a seven fold the development of all renewable formsfor Ireland – sets out an integrated increase in biomass supply, to of energy, and in particular to bioenergy.strategy for collective delivery of the approximately 60 PJ (1,425 ktoe) per Competition with food or other uses forpotential benefits (climate change year.To further illustrate the scale of the biomass materials (e.g. wood for panelalleviation, increased competitiveness challenge the renewable heat and board production) and the associatedand increased fuel security) of the co-firing targets alone would require 28 environmental and social impacts areexploitation of bioenergy resources PJ (663 ktoe), which is equivalent to an issues that are much discussed both inacross the agriculture, enterprise, annual 3.1 million tonnes of woodchip the literature and in the media, astransport, environment and energy at 50% moisture content. This is illustrated by the debate on biofuelssectors. It informed the government approximately 125% of the estimated targets versus rainforest policy document – Delivering a total removal of wood from the Irish These issues should be fully examined inSustainable Energy Future for Ireland – forest estate (for saw log, panel board the roadmap in order that the bioenergywhich established ambitious targets for manufacture, bioenergy, etc.) in 2006. sector in Ireland grows in a sustainablebioenergy for 2020, including: way while gaining wide public The development of a roadmap for acceptance. 12% renewable heat – while not sustainable bioenergy supply for Ireland directly identifying biomass, never- is required in order to chart the path to theless it is likely that biomass would achieve the 2020 renewable energy need to contribute more than 90% targets. Among the topics that the of this target if it were to be realised; roadmap should address are the 30% co-firing with biomass at the following: three peat power plants (to be The ongoing availability of biomass achieved by 2015); for energy with due regard to other 800 MWe of CHP with an “emphasis demands and taking account of the on biomass fuelled CHP”; evolution of land use in Ireland and 10% biofuels – this would be the role that imports can play; exclusively derived from biomass. The technology pathways that can be deployed having regard forThese targets should be viewed in the commercial viability and resourcecontext of the recent proposal for a use efficiency;Renewable Energy Directive 2(RED) from Assessment of the impacts ofthe European Union, in which Ireland is different scenarios;required to achieve from renewable The research, development and 1 Bioenergy in Ireland was the output from the work of thesources by 2020 a 16% contribution to demonstration needs to achieve the Bioenergy Strategy Group which was established in 2004 by the Dept. of Communications, Marine and Naturaltotal final energy consumption and a goals of the roadmap; Resources, now the Dept. of Communications, Energy and10% contribution to final consumption The policy requirements to support Natural Resources.of energy in transport. the effective implementation of the 2 Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and roadmap. of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy fromDelivering the biomass supply to meet renewable sources, COM(2008) 19 final of 23.1.2008.these targets will require the The Bioenergy Strategy Group 3 Energy in Ireland 1990 – 2006, Energy Policy Statisticalmobilisation of significant additional established by the DCENR in 2004 Support Unit of SEI, 2007. 3
  6. 6. Hardwood fuel from our new forestsTom Kent,Waterford Institute of TechnologySéamus Dunne, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and FoodThe first thinning in hardwoods, like ash, removes the poorer formed trees and the trees that are competing most intensively with the best – final crop – trees.Here the trees were cut into delimbed, 3 metre long logs for loading onto a forwarding tractor and trailer and extraction for firewood processing.The Irish landscape has changed Forest energy programme Firewoodconsiderably over the last 20 years not These issues are the focus of the Forest Firewood has traditionally beenleast as a result of the creation of new Energy Programme funded by COFORD, produced largely from the branchwoodwoodlands on farms during this period. the National Council for Forest Research of mature hardwoods, felled primarily forThe level of new woodland planting has and Development. The Forest Energy commercial sawlog. The sector isaveraged over 10,000 hectares per Programme is a collaborative project characterised by being local in scale,annum since 1988. During this period the between Waterford Institute of Technol- disassociated and sporadically distrib-policy of increasing broadleaf forest ogy and the Danish Forestry Extension. uted across the country. The firewoodcover to 30% of total planting has had a The main project aim is to explore cost quality is highly variable, with poorpositive impact on the landscape and effective methods of production of high distribution channels and no clearamenity of our countryside but will also quality wood fuel from first thinnings of pricing structure. Recently, the market forbring with it hardwood market both hardwoods, as the timber from firewood has increased for a number ofopportunities in the future.We have now broadleaved woodlands is called; and reasons: rising oil prices are drivingarrived at the stage where these softwoods, the wood from conifer forests. individuals to re-assess solid fuel domes-broadleaved woodlands require to be The work programme has involved tic heating; the interior design trendthinned and in these early thinning years thinning several hardwood sites using a towards installing solid fuel stoves asthe opportunities are already emerging number of different harvesting and centre pieces to living rooms; and thefor the production of hardwood fuel logs processing systems. In each case we are appearance of firewood gasificationand woodchips. But how competitive will trying to assess the productivity and cost boilers on the Irish domestic heatingthis newly available local fuel be? How effectiveness of the wood energy supply market. The hardwood thinningwill it be removed from the forests? How chain.All systems incorporate a period for programme could supply this developingmust the timber be treated to maximise seasoning to take place.This reduces the market with increasing quantities ofits energy value? And what is the best water content in the wood and increases high quality, homogenous hardwoodform of fuel for this material, fuel logs or the energy output of the fuel. firewood.woodchip? 4
  7. 7. BIOENERGY NEWS SUMMER 2008WoodchipWoodchip can be automatically fed intoboilers at a wide range of scales for bothheat and electricity generation. Currently,the main market for woodchip iscommercial boilers, particularly in thehotel sector. This market is rapidlyexpanding. In addition, other markets forwoodchip for energy are developing,such as co-firing wood with peat by Bordna Mona in their power plants and as theraw material for making pellets.Hardwood chip has advantages oversoftwood chip. The energy density ofhardwood woodchip may be over 50%higher than that of softwoods as thebasic wood density is higher. Particularlyin the case of ash, our main nativehardwood, the innate low moisturecontent of the wood at harvest timemeans that it makes excellent fuel.Future supply is secure further build on our native fuel resource Firewood from hardwoods is both an attractiveWhile we are still getting to grips with the and economic alternative to other solid fuels.The by continuing to plant new woodlands energy content of seasoned hardwood isoptimum methods of utilising our new and forests. Ireland, at 10% forest cover, is approximately 3500kWh per tonne.The averagefound national fuel resource one thing still one of the least afforested countries Irish house requires 20000kWh of heating perthat’s certain is that hardwood fuel is here in Europe. Wood energy is another good year or less than six tonnes of firewood. Plantingto stay and with 18,000 ha of broadleaves reason to plant tree’s and under the new a two hectare woodlot of broadleaves would allow a household to be completely self-newly planted since the year 2000 alone FEPS (Forest Environmental Protection sufficient.the future looks secure. Additional Scheme) planting grants for farmers andsupports to farmers to assist in harvest- tax free 20 year premiums have nevering young broadleaf forests will act as a been better.major catalyst in bringing much of thisrenewable energy to market. We canMr.Tom Nixon,Trojan Heavy Horses Ltd., is actively keeping traditional logging methods alive and well. Horse logging is suitable on smaller sites and where sitesare sensitively managed. 5
  8. 8. Incorporating low energy designinto our schoolsJohn Dolan, Energy Programme Co-ordinator and Senior Engineer,Department of Education and ScienceUsing minimum energy in as reliable and appropriate for morning heat up which represents aIreland’s schools application in schools they are incorpo- significant portion of the school’s totalSince 1998 the Planning and Building rated into the Department’s guidelines heating.Unit have been using a process of and introduced in all new, awareness, research and How is low energy design Good natural daylight in a learningtechnology known as DART to develop environment is highly desirable. Theenergy efficiency in educational incorporated into schools? window design, configuration and Low energy design has been locations maximize available daylightbuildings. Currently all primary schoolsbuilt in accordance with the incorporated on a hybrid basis by such that all classrooms can operateDepartments Primary Schools technical maximising natural resources and without artificial lighting for up to 80%guidance documents are capable of utilising technologies. Maximising of the occupied period. Computerisedbeing up to 2.3 times more energy natural resources involves focusing on modeling is used to ensure that theefficient than schools built to best areas such as passive solar design, good design targets are achieved. natural daylight, natural ventilation andInternational Practice. air infiltration. Natural ventilation in schools is provided, without draughts, through a Passive solar design in school building mix of high- and low-level open able terms means positioning the teaching windows; again this is assured through spaces to face east south east. This can the use of detailed computer produce up to 25% savings on early simulations.As part of its energy researchprogramme, the Department ofEducation and Science have developedgeneric repeat designs; promoted theschool building itself as a learning tooland in addition are undertaking abiomass demonstration project, arepreparing the next generation of lowenergy schools and are developing aweb based energy certification schemefor school buildings.Rather than focusing uniquely onenergy design, the Department’sPlanning and Building Unit have taken aholistic approach, integrating energyefficiency in school designs into theirsuite of technical guidance documents.These documents are available As new designtechniques and technologies are proven 6
  9. 9. BIOENERGY NEWS 2008Air infiltration is a term used to describe To maximise the potential of natural ity and responsiveness of the heating tounwanted and uncontrollable air daylight, lighting specifications for the excellent passive solar designleakage to and from a building. It can schools are based on the most energy potential.occur through minor gaps in efficient lighting available withconstruction and results in heat wastage. automatic dimming/off controls. The school is also contracted to a windIn effect a building that has a high generator electrical supply company forinfiltration rate will lose a significant Research by the Department of green electricity and has a rainwateramount of heat during the day and even Education and Science showed that collection system.more at night (due to lower night time young children used only the cold watertemperatures) and thus requires more taps in school for washing their hands as The gaelscoil project has receivedtime and energy to heat up in the they were afraid of the hot tap, associat- national and international awardsmornings. All schools greater than ing it with those in their homes which including Environmental Initiative of the1000m2 are now tested for air tightness lack anti-scald provisions. Supplying a Year Award CIBSE London 2004;and must achieve a minimum air blended reduced temperature to the hot Excellence in Design or Specification -leakage rate that is twice as good as tap made no difference in their Sustainable Energy Ireland Awards 2004;current building regulations. behaviour. In response, the Department and Inside Government Merit Award has adopted a single tap solution to all 2004 for Best Project within anUse of technologies wash hand basins where the hot and Organisation for Innovation throughThe Department has focused on utilising cold water are mixed at the tap intake Technology.technologies in a number of areas with anti-scald protection; thus all waterincluding heating, lighting and water outlets for ablution are single tapsefficiency. Boiler selection to maximise giving a blended safe water supply.efficiency is encouraged in the technicalguidance documents and more energy Water usage is also minimised throughefficient heating controls are promoted. automatic shut off taps and dual flushEach teaching space has its own toilets.individual temperature sensor thatallows the teacher to adjust room There is good potential for recovering ortemperature within a limited band. harvesting rainwater in schools to use for flushing toilets and where feasible these systems are provided for in new school projects. Retro-fitting rainwater Generic repeat design recovery into existing buildings is not The Planning and Building Unit recently possible without major intervention into developed a two-storey primary school the internal fabric and services of the design for 8, 12 and 16 classroom building (dedicated water supply to schools which is generic in nature and every toilet in the building) and external can be repeated on various sites. The drains (separating rain water and design also allows for the 8 and 12 external drains and re-routing to a classroom versions to be expanded in central collection point). the future, if needed, with minimal disruption to the existing school thus The first project to feature the allowing the day-to-day functions of the comprehensive DART approach was school to continue. Gaelscoil an Eiscir Riada in Tullamore.The school successfully encompassed all of In addition to the excellent low energy the above natural resources and also consumption, the benefits of the generic trialed new technologies.These included repeat design projects include the lighting and heating controls as well as following: the use of a heat pump. the development of a considered Part of the project was to assess the educational model, suitability for future schools of the heat extendibility and future-proofing pump with its underfloor heating potential of the core model, system.The high energy performance of optimum standardisation of the heat pump has not been matched educational facilities at primary level, for a school environment in areas such reduced professional fees, as reliability of the system, controllabil- 7
  10. 10. optimum land use and usability on Biomass demonstration project The Department’s other energy research restricted sites, This project comprises the design, projects include wind generation, solar improved internal comfort electrical installation and monitoring of biomass generation, web-based environment, heating systems in primary and operation and maintenance manuals, a durable use of materials resulting in post-primary schools. Fifteen systemspost-primary school low energy lower maintenance and lifecycle have been installed. research project, and energy workshops costs, for school managers. quick delivery through the The objectives of the project are to For more information, contact application of an off-the-shelf evaluate the suitable application, John Dolan at: option, performance and compatibility of greater certainty in budget biomass systems with school heating projection and programming withinrequirements in terms of demand the overall capital programme. characteristics, controls, reliability, fuel storage, maintenance and operation.The GRD project has received a merit A good practice guide for the designaward for Excellence in Design or and installation of biomass heatingSpecification - Sustainable Energy systems in schools will be prepared forIreland Awards 2007. school design teams and managers and will lead to a suite of case studies on selected projects. Next generation of low energy schools Work on the design of the next generation of low energy schools is Ballyfin N.S., Co Laois – first national school with biomass heating system capable of both pellet & underway via the Rural Schools Project woodchip burning where the same design is developed for use on different sites. The objectives of this project are to further improve the Department’s low energy design ethosGeneric repeat design school and to make the schools carbon neutral. The design process evaluates enhanced insulation and air tightness testing criteria, rainwater recovery, automatedThe school building as a window controls linked to CO2 monitors,learning tool biomass boilers and green electricity. ItIn its efforts to promote the also extensively monitors heating, powerenvironment and energy efficiency to and lighting, hot and cold water andschool children, the Department is sewerage flow rates, and energy con-presently piloting two school buildings sumption.that can be used as active learning tools. Future energy certificateA child-friendly touch screen display The Department is developing a project,linked to the building energy in conjunction with Sustainable Energymanagement system provides the Ireland, aimed at helping existingchildren and visitors with energy and schools to meet the certificationenvironmental information relating to requirements of the Energy Performancethe building. A cartoon character, called Building Directive within a short timeEddie the Grasshopper, encourages the period and without the need for a costlychildren to learn about the school and time-consuming assessor-basedconstruction and its day-to-day energy system.The proposal consists of creatinguse. The system can also be interfaced a website that will allow schools to inputwith the school’s information building data and energy consumptiontechnology network allowing the elements and to obtain an energyteachers to use it in the classrooms as a performance certificate for displayreal-time learning tool. within their schools. 8
  11. 11. BIOENERGY NEWS 2008Balcas delivers brites on timethroughout IrelandRichard Smith, Brites Business Manager, BalcasBalcas, owner of the largest wood pellet the credit card payment after delivery, now over fifty customers taking full loadfacility in UK and Ireland, has just and also issue an invoice.” deliveries, with the largest taking 48completed its second season supplying tonnes per week. These includeits brites pellets. After the teething Bagged brites are now sold through one hospitals, hotels, schools, nursing homesproblems with logistics which caused hundred and forty five Irish outlets, and and leisure centres. As energy costslong lead times in winter 2006, brites the smaller 10kg bags, with a handle, continue to rise, brites are offeringbusiness manager, Richard Smith, is have proved very popular with significant savings for these users.pleased that deliveries have been much customers. Focus groups organised byquicker throughout the season. “We Balcas, had highlighted that customers Finally, work has started on the 100,000promised a maximum delivery time of were looking for a more customer tonne pellet plant in Invergordon,two weeks for residential customers, and friendly bag that could be easily lifted Scotland which will come on line inin reality most customers received their and carried through a house, to fill a March 2009. While this plant will servebrites within 7-10 days.” pellet stove.Over the summer, Balcas will the GB market, it does provide more manufacture large quantities for stock, security of supply for Irish customers.Balcas also started deliveries out of its to ensure that winter demand will benew distribution depot in Ringaskiddy, satisfied. For up to date information regardingCo Cork which was officially opened by ordering, storage recommendations,the Minister for Communications, Energy The number of commercial customers contacts, retail outlets – please seeand Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan TD has continued to develop, and there are, or visit the brites standwho praised Balcas for demonstrating at Bioenergy ‘08.the strength of their commitment to theIrish renewable energy market, “I firmlybelieve that Ireland can be a worldleader in renewable technologies andbecome the centre of global ‘greenenergy boom’ and I am delighted thatcompanies like Balcas are helping tomake this a reality.”The depot was initially filled with britesfrom the Enniskillen pellet plant, andthen a further 8000 tonnes wereimported from a German pellet supplierduring the winter. This ensured promptdeliveries for all customers in theMunster region throughout the winter.Another major development was thelaunch of an Internet ordering system forresidential customers. Richard Smithcomments,“As the number of customersgrew to over 2000, we had to find aneasier way for customers to order andpay for their brites. The Internet systemallows customers to order 24/7, and thedrivers are all equipped with computer Mr. Eamon Ryan T.D., Minister for Communication, Energy and Natural Resources, with Richard Smith (Balcas Business Manager) at the launch of the new Balcas depot in Cork.tablets in their cabs which will trigger 9
  12. 12. Bio-CNG: transport fuel for the future?Dr Jerry D Murphy, Department of Civil and EnvironmentalEngineering and Environmental Research Institute,University College CorkProblems associated with will accompany peak oil. The age of gas must then be purchased and a moretransport fuel and liquid biofuels is starting; biomethane and hydrogen expensive biofuel is produced.Ireland had 800,000 private cars in 1990 are the transport fuels of the future.Withand 1.8 million in 2005. Ireland’s green- reference to Table 1, it may be noted that biomethane from silage on 6.5 ha will CASE STUDYhouse gas emissions from transport in2010 are expected to increase by 180% provide the fuel for one Dublin Bus.This Fuel farmabove 1990 levels. This is unsustainable is significantly less than the 24 ha The case study is based on a farm inin a world of peak oil, climate change required for rape seed. Eugendorf, near Salzburg in Austria. Theand energy security. farm harvests silage from 150 ha, and Grass is the best energy crop in converts it to transport fuel in the formThe implications of the Biofuels Ireland of biomethane.The process in simplifiedDirective for land use in Ireland Ireland has 4.4 million hectares of form is as follows:Liquid biofuels tend to be land hungry. agricultural land with 9% (400,000 ha)Arguments abound on the food/fuel used as arable land and over 90% under Silage production and storagedebate. However, the complexities grass. Liquid biofuels require the use of Grass is cut, allowed to wilt in the field,associated with feedstocks, technolo- arable land and thus have a negative then harvested at a solids content ofgies, biofuel types, and production impact on food production. Bearing this about 40% and stored in silage pitssystems are not easily explained to the in mind, it is suggested that grass/silage (figure 1a). From here, when required, itlay person or the public at large. Table 1 may be the best energy crop in an Irish is macerated (figure 1b) before it isattempts to highlight the differentiation context. Grass requires neither rotation deposited in an underground tank.through the use of an example of the nor arable land, and is a low energy input Water is added in a closed loop toquantity of fuel required to power one crop. reduce the solids content to about 12%.Dublin Bus for a year. For example, Two tanks are employed; the dilutedbiodiesel from rape seed requires 24 ha Biomethane from residues silage flows from one (tank) digester toof land under the crop every year to However, it is suggested that the the second. The reactors are heated topower one bus; when we consider that optimum biofuel is produced from 40oC, and gentle mixing is applied.rape seed may only be grown one year residues, such as the organic fraction of Typically, the tanks are sized on 70 daysin five, then the developer needs to municipal solid waste (OFMSW), supply of feedstock.contract 120 ha of land to a biofuel slaughter waste, slurries or grassfacility to fuel one bus. cuttings; Cork City has 300 ha of Biogas production and parkland, sufficient to provide the fuel upgradingGaseous biofuels for 40 buses. If biomethane is generated The biogas produced contains 55% CH4,Current media coverage of alternative from these sources, the feedstock is free 44% CO2, and trace amounts of H2S andtransport fuels is dominated by liquid leading to a cheap biofuel. After these H2O. Biomethane at a standard requiredbiofuels, but the view point of the author fuel sources have been fully utilised, then for transport fuel or injection into theis that a reduction in use of liquid fuel feedstock (such as silage and maize) grid must comply with ÖVGW G31, which includes for the following: • CH4 > 97%; CO2 <2%; H2S < 5mg/mn3; H2O < 100mg/mn3. This is affected by a number of means including: • Oxygen dosing or activated carbon to remove H2S; • Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) or membrane technology to remove CO2. 10
  13. 13. BIOENERGY NEWS SUMMER 2008 bio-CNG CNG Compressed natural gas (CNG) is the cheapest transport fuel (table 2). It is the cleanest burning transport fuel and as a result is used in urban areas to minimize local air pollution associated with particulates in the emissions of diesel Figure 1(a) Silage in silage pit Figure 2(b) Storage of biomethane engines. A disadvantage of CNG is the expense of a service station. As a result, captive fleets that return to base for refuelling (and therefore need the minimum number of service stations) often use CNG. Many city bus services across the world (Stockholm, Linkoping, Linz, Lille, Florence, Denver…) are powered by CNG. bio-CNG In Austria, a vehicle fuel consisting of Figure 1(b) Macerator 20% biomethane and 80% CNG is Figure 3(a) Service station currently being sold as “bio-CNG” and marketed as a “green” vehicle fuel. The production cost of biomethane is offset by the cheap fossil fuel (CNG).To enable cost comparisons to be made between fuels, costs are converted to c/MJ in table 2. The cost of the bio-CNG is computed using CNG prices in the UK. Biomethane prices are breakeven prices. The feedstock used is assumed to be grass/silage at €132/tdm. Figure 2(a) Compressor Figure 3(b) Service counter Vision for the future Biomethane may be made from variousThe upgraded biogas (termed service. Users of the facility type in the sources (OFMSW, food waste, slaughterbiomethane) is compressed to 300 bar quantity of fuel they require at the waste, slurry, parkland cuttings, silage,(figure 2(a)) and stored in 28 containers service counter, pay with their credit sugar beet, maize).The viewpoint is that(figure 2(b)). Each container is 2m long, card and that quantity of fuel is then each facility is analogous to a wind farm;has a diameter of approximately 220 dispensed to their vehicle. The farmer it may dispense biomethane to themm and a capacity of 76 l. This provides does not need to employ anyone at the natural gas grid and then be useda total volume of 2100 l. The storage filling station. elsewhere (e.g. Dublin Bus may becapacity is sufficient for 630 mn3 of powered by slaughter waste producedbiomethane at standard temperature in Tipperary). Alterna-and pressure (equivalent to 630 l of tively, as in this case, €diesel). € the facility may sell € the product locally.Distribution of biomethane € Biomethane may be € considered the bridgeBecause the farm is remote from the € to “The Hydrogennatural gas grid, a service station was € € Economy” or may ininstalled at the entrance to the farm.The itself be the start of thestation (figures 3(a) & 3(b)) allows for self age of gas. 11
  14. 14. Large scale biomass projects by PowertechFrancis Martin, PowertechFrancis Martin the M.D. of Powertech Geothermal heatingRenewable Energy based in Carrickmore, The technology used ranges from air toCo Tyrone has been involved in energy water heat pumps as seen at Campbellconservation all his working life. College in Belfast to geothermal heatingTogether with Michael Mc Gurk, Eamonn with bore holes as seen at EnniskillenMartin and Gerard Scallon they set up Integrated College. In all cases wherePowertech over six years ago to bring heat pumps are used Powertech use arenewable energy systems to a very German supplier called Alpha-Innotec.needy Irish market. This company is part of the Schultz Group and manufacture a wide range ofIn these six years Ireland has taken a pos- products from 4kw to 10MW.itive step forward with renewable en-ergy. A number of major land marks like In general where geothermal is used the Beragh GAA centre, Co.Tyronethe setting up of Action Renewables in building is heated using underfloorNorthern Ireland, coupled with the work heating or alternatives to standard radi-of the Carbon Trust, and Sustainable ators where water temperatures under investment will show a pay back inEnergy Ireland with the Greener 40 degrees are capable of generating savings in just four years. This does notHomes Scheme, and other promotional enough heat. In all instances where this take into consideration grant aid or taxschemes in the South of Ireland have is achieved there are major cost savings relief that may be available in most casesstimulated the market. At the same time in the region of 40 - to 60%. when this type of development isthe establishment of an Irish considered.manufacturing wood pellet operationby Balcas in Enniskillen together withsoaring oil prices have greatly helped Solarcompanies like Powertech to create and When Powertech are involved inmaintain a sustainable business in this installing the primary source ofever growing energy sector. renewable heating, solar panels are fitted as a complimentary part of theAt the beginning, Powertech decided to overall package as can be seen atlook at countries that were passed the Campbell College, Co. Antrim Campbell College and Waterways newresearch and development stage of building outside Enniskillen. In generalrenewable energy for guidance and the company policy is to market a flatadvice. They then chose partnership plate panel made by Roth in Germanywith companies with vast experience in which is a molded panel with athe renewable energy field. Now guarantee of ten years.Powertech have very close associationswith leading manufacturers in Germany, BiomassAustria, Sweden and England who have Having successfully installed woodestablished reputations in their In Enniskillen, Powertech have installed heating in houses throughout Irelandrespective fields. twenty individual air to water units for with the Austrian manufactured Froling Tracey Bros development site. biomass boiler, Powertech have movedWith a history of development behind to large sites including Kilkenny, Let-them in domestic renewable energy In Tyrone, they are currently installing an terkenny and Cookstown leisure cen-heating, Powertech have in the past four 80-bed nursing home with air to water tres. Due to the continued priceyears moved into heating hotels, schools, heating system. In this instance the increase of oil this has now extended tonursing homes, prisons and a range of building has underfloor heating with 6 x mushroom growers and otherother commercial buildings like sports 33kw heating units.The 140,000 pounds horticulture growers.halls and leisure centres. 12
  15. 15. BIOENERGY NEWS 2008Villa Rose Hotel and Spa, Co. DonegalIn more recent installations because of with minimum heat loss around the site.Irish growers in willow and miscanthus This is the case in most installationsthe Froling boiler is widely used because where more than one boiler room isof the automatic special self-cleaning serving the heat need.heat exchanger. Powertech are workingclosely with local suppliers in installing Combined heat and powerboilers in a wide variety of buildings (CHP)including prisons, hotels, schools and The single most exciting developmentnursing homes. taking place in Powertech is with biomass CHP. The company believe thisIn general there are substantial savings will provide major opportunities forto be had where material is available them in Ireland.This coupled with a treelocally at reasonable prices. These planting programme using well testedsavings are in the region of 40 to 60 % Eucalyptus strains is where the companyreduction in annual fuel bills. Letterkenny leisure centre, Co. Donegal believe the most growth potential is possible not just for Powertech but theDistrict heating in Moate, country as a whole.Co WestmeathThe most interesting developmentPowertech is involved in at present is a66 house district heating project inMoate, Co Westmeath. The developerson this site have done a marvelous jobin building an energy efficient housewhere the homeowners are getting theirhouses heated for an annual cost of€600.In the case of more than one buildinginvolved it is essential to usepre-insulated pipe to transfer the water Sandy Lane development 13
  16. 16. Biofuels roadmap for Europe– The REFUEL projectMarc Londo, ECN,The NetherlandsBiofuels production and consumption the EU’s 10% target for biofuels by 2020 to introduce the key stakeholders,are growing rapidly in the EU. The EU can be met by domestic production of their motives, the actions requiredbiofuels directive stipulates that national conventional, first generation biofuels, from them, the barriers they willmeasures must be taken by countries and moderate imports. However, meet, the optimal timing of theiracross the EU aimed at replacing 5.75% advanced, or second generation biofuels actions;of all transport fossil fuels (petrol and would result in more climate benefits. to evaluate and discuss of policiesdiesel) with biofuels by 2010. These biofuels, produced from a wide needed to mobilise stakeholders,Furthermore, the European Commission variety of residues and woody or grassy create incentives and reduce barriers;has proposed a 10% binding target for plants, show substantially higher yields The roadmap consists of aall member states to be reached by per hectare of land, and provide far systematically described set of2020. better opportunities for the EU industry actions to be taken, coherent in task to develop an innovative sector. Any allocation and timing.With the increasing growth rates and biofuels policy promoting these benefitsambitious EU targets, the debate on leads to improved opportunities for Biofuels potential can become availablebiofuels is becoming increasingly strong. second-generation biofuels. In without compromising food and feedIssues like feedstock availability, comparison, conventional biofuels supply. Furthermore, it does not requirecompetition with food, environmental (biodiesel from oil crops and bioethanol conversion of forestland, grassland andimpacts and implementation issues can from sugar crops, cereals etc.) perform nature conservation areas into arablestrongly influence the long-term much less effectively. land. The latter is essential since recentperspectives for biofuels. Particularly in studies indicate that such land usethe domain of biofuels-induced The REFUEL project changes may lead to losses of soildeforestation, and related greenhouse – A summary carbon that would turn any greenhousegas emissions, today’s knowledge is The REFUEL project is designed to gas emission reductions into netcontroversial and research is ongoing. encourage a greater market penetration increases of emissions. In the new EUThese issues are highly important for the of biofuels. To help achieve this goal, a member states and Ukraine, agriculturebiofuels sector since negative new biofuels roadmap has been designed, has ample opportunities for increasingfindings may reduce public support, consistent with EU biofuel policies and crop and livestock yields, thereby freeingchange policy preferences and thereby supported by stakeholders involved in up agricultural land for biofueldeprive the sector of its licence to the biofuels field. feedstocks cultivation.produce. Furthermore, a pathway visionis needed that is both ambitious for The key elements of this roadmap are: A biofuels target share alone does notbiofuels and explicit in its treatment of to outline an ambitious, yet realistic seem to induce the development oftheir drawbacks, aiming at a responsible target share for biofuels in the fuel biofuels that best respond to the driversdevelopment. mix for EU transport in 2030; for biofuels policy. Several policy to suggest the least-costly biofuel packages designed to study specificREFUEL contributes to this vision mix which meets this target, with policy perspectives for biofuels wereformation. In this project, funded by the related biofuels production chains, analysed, focussing for example onIntelligent Energy Europe Programme, conversion technology, and biomass climate mitigation or energy EU institutes of different feedstocks in the EU27+ Ukraine, These policy packages lead to improvedbackgrounds have analysed the Norway & Switzerland; competitiveness of second generationprospects for biofuels in terms of to assess the impact of reaching the biofuels and an introduction of theseresource potential, costs and impacts of target share on the main drivers fuels before 2020. The earlier they aredifferent biofuels, effects of different behind biofuels, i.e. reducing introduced the better the 2020 biofuelspolicy strategies, and the broader system greenhouse gas emissions, mix meets the drivers behind the policyimpacts of biofuels. increasing security of supply and push for biofuels. Furthermore, an earlyThe extensive analysis of feedstock socio-economic impacts, especially start leads to earlier cost reductions inpotentials in the project indicates that in agriculture; conversion technology due to learning 14
  17. 17. BIOENERGY NEWS 2008effects. There are several ways to introduction of second generation sectors. Generally, Lignocellulosicenhance advanced biofuels, given these biofuels should take these differences bioenergy feedstocks (wood, grasses)perspectives. Specific targets for second into account. As for feedstock supply provide the best opportunities. Thegeneration may be the easiest, but other policy, points of attention are research food-fuel competition effect is alsopackages may have comparable effects. on cultivation practices of perennial lower for these feedstocks, although crops, and adaptation of the EU competition for the best soils may stillFor advanced biofuels to enter the Common Agricultural Policy and spatial occur. With their substantial feedstockmarket, various obstacles need to be policies in order to accommodate these potentials, the Central and Easterntackled. Required production crops. Other relevant issues are European countries are rapidlytechnology needs to be further cross-sector policy harmonisation and developing a conventional biofuelsdeveloped and deployed, as well as new the enhancement of lignocellulosic industry. Biofuels policies aiming atsupply chains for agricultural and markets able to absorb large-scale introduction of the second generationforestry residues and crops. Overcoming supply chains. In order to reduce the therefore should pay specific attentionthese hurdles will require a favourable initial risks for second generation biofuel to this region.and stable investment climate. REFUEL production installations, stepping stonesshows that cross-sector strategies can may be created by finding synergies For further information or to downloadhelp reduce these barriers. Examples are with biomass co-firing for power information on the REFUEL roadmap, gothe initial development of woody generation (preparing stable feedstock to supply chains for power supply) and by integration of plants ingeneration, or integration of biofuel district heating systems (outputplants in district heating systems. diversification).When developing a policy strategy for When stimulating biofuels, the widerbiofuels, it appears clear that the risk perspective of biomass use in the entireprofile of second generation biofuels energy economy is essential. Thediffers fundamentally from that of first optimal allocation of biomass overgeneration biofuels.The introduction of applications like power, heat andthe related perennial cropping systems biofuels is subject to many factors.faces barriers, possibly increased by a Application in heat and power is oftenstrong initial demand for conventional mentioned as most cost-effective in(first generation) feedstock.Furthermore, terms of greenhouse gas emissionthe high investment costs for second reduction, but the attractiveness ofgeneration production plants lead to a biomass in each sector strongly dependshigher vulnerability for market on the expected competitiveness ofvolatilities. A policy aiming at the alternative options in the different 4,0 96 86 3,5 Projected biofuels mix by 2030 at different target heights for biofuels. 76 3,0 Biofuel (Mtoe biofuel /year) Biofuel (EJ biofuel /year) Conventional biofuels are able to supply 67 substantial amounts, but at higher target 2,5 levels, second generation biofuels become 57 more cost-effective. 2,0 48 38 1,5 29 1,0 19 0,5 10 - 0 Baseline (9%) Moderate (15%) High case (25%) 1st generation 2nd generation 15
  18. 18. IFA’s plan to access farm forestryenergy potentialGeraldine O’Sullivan, IFA, Farm Forestry Development OfficerOver 210,000 hectares of private forestry 50% of first thinnings), is a small avoiding capital investment until anhas been planted since the 1980s. Of this diameter low value product. The main adequate timber supply capacity is30,000 hectares is over 15 years of age or markets for this wood are located in the created.The groups will not focus solelyto put it another way, it is approaching southeast so if your forest is located in on the wood energy market but will alsofirst thinning. It is estimated that there is the southwest the transportation costs sell to sawmills. By selling in larger lotscurrently nearly 900,000 m3 of timber can negate the income earned from the the groups will have greater bargainingavailable from thinning operations. This thinning operation. Alternative local power than selling as individual forestis expected to rise to 1.9 million m3 in markets are needed for these thinnings, owners.2010 increasing to 5.9 million m3 by and for many farm foresters the wood2015. These figures demonstrate that energy sector offers a real opportunity Financial support will be needed initially,Ireland has significant energy potential to diversify and to sell their thinnings as experiences both from overseas andin its forestry resource. If all the 900,000 locally. IFA are actively working to from the Clare Wood Energy projectm3 of thinnings timber was converted to strengthen the links between forestry have shown that it can take up to fivewood energy this would be the and the wood energy sector, through years to put the infrastructure in place,equivalent to an estimated 7.65 PJ or the creation of local “clusters” to supply organise timber flow and build up the4% of Ireland’s Total Primary Heat locally grown renewable timber to local market. Funding therefore is needed toRequirements. energy markets. employ a field manager to coordinate the crucial development work. TheHowever, in reality the volumes of IFA are working with key organisations Forest Service is actively promoting thetimber being extracted from private to facilitate the establishment of timber establishment of these groups byforests are far less than 900,000 m3.There producer groups throughout Ireland. funding a number of initiatives. One ofare many reasons for the reduced These groups will bring a change in these groups is the Meitheal Foraoiseproduction rate, for example, the forest culture to farming communities that are Chiarrai (Kerry Farm Forestry Taskhas a lower yield class than expected, the used to trading livestock or crops and Group). IFA Vice-Chairman and Forestryfarmer is unaware that his plantation is will now for the first time be trading Contractor, Michael Fleming is a memberready for thinning, the site is timber. The concept is to start small, of this group. The aim of the group is toinaccessible or due to instability, the sitewill never be thinned. One of the majorissues impeding harvesting in theprivate forestry sector is the fragmentednature of the sector as well as plantationsize – the average size is 9 hectares.Thismeans that harvesting costs can behigh; the transportation of specialisedforestry machines to small forestsreduces the income earned from firstthinnings. It can even be difficult toattract contractors or buyers becausethey are short jobs and provide smallvolumes of timber.Traditionally first thinnings are sold tosawmills to make stakes or pallets andto the board mills for chipboard, OSB orMDF production. The timber from first (From L to R) Pat Hennessy, IFA Farm Forestry Chairman, Michael Somers,Teagasc Forestry Adviser,thinnings, particularly the pulpwood Geraldine OSullivan, IFA Farm Forestry Development Officer, Mary Ryan,Teagasc Forest Specialist,element (which can account for over Donal Mullane,Teagasc, AMU,Tippeary and Michael Carew, IFA Farm Forestry Tipperary Representative, at a recent IFA/Teagasc producer group meeting in Co.Tipperary. 16
  19. 19. BIOENERGY NEWS SUMMER 2008 market. At a time when Ireland is experiencing an uncertain economic future, competitiveness will be key to weathering the storm. As oil prices continue to rise, reaching a record high of $125 a barrel in the last few weeks businesses, particularly those with high-energy demands, are looking to reduce costs. The experiences of businesses that have already converted to wood chip have been positive, in some instances halving heating costs and a payback on the installation costs being achieved within five years. As well as reducing their energy costs, businesses will be supporting local farmers and services companies by installing wood energy and thus also contributing to reducing Ireland’sStacking harvested wood carbon footprint. Contact:promote further afforestation in the planned that will provide some of the Geraldine O’Sullivancounty by facilitating the development skills necessary to manage the groups. IFA Farm Forestry Development Officerof wood fuel supply chain enabling the IFA are also developing a timber tradingdevelopment of wood heat pilot website, ifarm, which will enable Mobile: 087 9385283projects. The funding secured by the producer groups to sell directly toForest Service has enabled the group processors. Timber trading websitesto employ a part-time coordinator to have been a very successful marketingpromote the group locally, increase tool used by forest owners and farmersmembership; to develop clusters, internationally to sell timber.coordinate road building and harvesting,ensure value for money and work with IFA envision that these groups will addlocal agencies to develop local wood real impetus to the local wood chipchip market. IFA are working to establishsimilar groups throughout the country.Creating a profitable and expandingnetwork of producer groups has realsocial, economic and environmentaladvantages for rural Ireland. Thesestructures provide more accountabilityfor farm foresters and moreresponsiveness to the commercialrealities of the market.IFA are working on other initiatives intandem to assist farmers to activelyparticipate in the establishment of theseproducer groups.One initiative is the IFASkillnet training courses which providefarmers with the necessary skills tomanage the thinning of their plantation.The courses offered to date include,Chainsaw and Timber Mensuration(measurement). Additional courses are 17
  20. 20. €6 million investment by D Pellet Limited fornew wood pellet plant in KilkennyLarry Doyle, D Pellet Ltd downturn in the contruction industry. ity, monitoring and maintenance of a National statistics indicate a very large high quality standard of wood pellets. In increase in the availability of raw addition they acknowledge that poor material over the next five to seven quality pellets, in certain cases, have years due to the implementation of the given wood pellet heating systems afforestation programme started in some bad publicity. The public needs to early 1990s. be more aware of the source, contents and standard of wood pellets currently Contracts with growers, harvesters and available on the Irish market. D Pellet haulage companies have been finalised indicates that they are producing a to ensure a reliable supply of raw premium quality pellet which surpassesLarry and Sorcha Doyle material. They also intend to have a both the German and Austrian standard stock in hand of 40,000 tonnes of raw i.e. NORM M7135 and DINplus. materials together with at least fiveA large scale wood pellet production thousand tonnes of finished pellet in With the continuance of governmentfacility in the Republic of Ireland has both bulk and bagged form. D Pellet is assistance and grants for renewablebegan producing 6mm wood pellets to well aware that it will take some time to technology, together with rapidlycater for increasing demand in Ireland. achieve this storage capacity but they increasing oil prices, the demand forLarry and Sorcha Doyle currently employ are confident of meeting their targets for wood pellets is increasing at a steady10 people in their factory which is the September / October 2008. rate. In addition approximately 30,000first whole-log wood pellet plant in tonnes of wood pellets are currentlyIreland. The facility is approximately30,000 square feet on a seven acre site Distribution network imported into Ireland. A plant to manufacture wood pellets here inwhich is capable of producing 70,000 D Pellet has a number of trucks on the Ireland is essential to ensure continuedtonnes of wood pellets per annum. road designed specifically for bulk wood pellet delivery. These trucks have high growth from both an economic and pressure pumping systems and also environmental viewpoint. Most of ourEquipment description have the capacity to extract dust from fossil fuel is imported – why should weD Pellet has spent the last four years the bulk storage areas. Dust extraction is continue to import renewable fuel whenresearching and identifying the most very important to enable users to we now have the ability, expertise andsuitable equipment to produce quality maximise the efficiency potential of their the raw materials to manufacture here inwood pellets. The de-barker, chipper, boilers. D Pellets’ proximity to a logistics Ireland? With the shortages of woodscreen and furnace were sourced in company, Brennan Transport, means that pellets two years ago, confidence withinNorth America, and the dryer, grinders bagged pellets can be delivered the industry was decimated with highand pellet mills came from Europe. In nationwide at short notice hence the price increases and exceptionally longaddition all conveyance and storage efficiency of transport and logistics is delivery times. This new plant willequipment was manufactured by Roto increased by keeping fuel costs at a hopefully help to stabilise prices andSpiral Limited, an associated company of minimum. Their client base consists of bring renewed confidence back into theD Pellet Ltd. home owners, schools, hotels, industry. apartment blocks, shopping centres etc.Raw materials and many more large commercial users.D Pellet is using forestry thinnings, They have also finalised contracts withsourced mainly from local private retail chains to establish servicegrowers, as their source of raw materials. contracts for bagged pellets.They are purchasing thinnings standing,roadside and delivered at the moment. D Pellet stress that ongoing qualityPrices of thinnings have decreased control is an integral part of theirslightly recently mainly due to the production process to enable traceabil- D Pellet Plant 18