Irish Bioenergy Association Newsletter September 2015
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IrBEA News
IrBEA submissions for DCENR consultations on RHI & RES-E
IrBEA Wood Energy Conference – Wednesday 7th October
Date for 2016 Diary *** IRBEA National Bioenergy Conference *** Wednesday 3rd February 2016 

Free AD online training course
Strong interest in WFQA at AFBI wood chip quality event
IrBEA submission to EU waste consultation

Latest News
Degression changes to Northern Ireland RHI
€500k in new EI funding to support start-ups in agricultural and manufacturing sectors
New Energy Efficiency Research funds - SEAI 
Irish company to receive EU funding for project to transform pig waste into biogas
Interim N & P statements available for farmers online
Practical info and events from Rokwood Project 
Climate Change USA: Obama's Clean Power Plan and what it means
Forestry could be five times more profitable than hill sheep farming - Scottish study
Adapting agriculture to climate change: a role for public policies - OECD
Drax bioenergy conversion boost to renewables electricity generation in UK
UK Department of Transport awards £25m advanced biofuel projects
Biomass supply chains, biogas storage systems, research on poplar for biofuels, and getting more from your wood – USA models

European News
Biofuel consumption recovers
Bridging update on RES in EU Member States
BioRES in Balkan states

BASIS Project identifies 3739 bioenergy plants using Woodchip in Europe
Small scale anaerobic digestion project – REA and Bangor University
The first biogas upgrading plant in Vienna now operational
IrBEA submissions for DCENR consultations on RHI & RES-E
In the week of 14 September, IrBEA submitted to the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources responses to technology consultations on Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RES-E). Members provided input into all papers. Two documents were submitted on RHI: i) Renewable Heat Incentive Report, which has a main focus on solid biomass (a print copy also mailed to all members); and ii) a joint Cré-IrBEA document specifically on biogas/AD. In a late change, DCENR extended the consultation deadline by one week to 18 September.
IrBEA's RHI submission included the following cover notes:
While supporting the consultation process, IrBEA is eager to see the working groups convene and to participate in same.
Additionally, IrBEA points out that biomass for heating domestic homes and other small buildings is a significant market in Ireland. In the SEAI report 'Energy in the Residential Sector 2013' Table 28, the estimate of firewood alone from the National Household Survey stands at 120ktoe, or 2.5% of Ireland’s thermal energy supply. While DCENR's RHI Technology Review Consultation document does not propose to support the domestic heat sector, IrBEA recommends that DCENR considers alternative support mechanisms for domestic biomass which would contribute positively to RES-H achievements. IrBEA will be making proposals on this in due course.
All three IrBEA submissions can be viewed through IrBEA's main website page here

IRBEA Wood Energy Conference – Wed 7 October, Heritage Hotel Portlaoise 
Wood energy interests should note on Wednesday 7 October IrBEA is hosting a half-day Wood Energy Conference followed by a site visit to nearby pellet and wood fuel supplier Laois Sawmills.  Taking place at the Heritage Hotel Portlaoise and kindly sponsored by Bord na Mona, the conference will have a technical and market focus with speakers from industry, wood products and new technology suppliers (incl. torrefied fuels), policy (incl. explanation of EU Timber Regulations, the latest from DCENR Renewables Division, and a presentation on IrBEA's RHI Report), project developers, and Wood Fuel Quality Assurance. The conference part of the programme is from 9.30-1pm followed by lunch, then the afternoon site visit kindly hosted by Laois Sawmills. Minister of State Tom Hayes (DAFM, with responsibility for forestry) opens the event. There are opportunities for trade stands. Full details of the lineup and registration can be viewed here

Date for diary *** IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference *** Wednesday 3rd February 2016
Members should note IrBEA's 15th National Bioenergy Conference will be held on Wednesday 3 February 2016 at the Castleknock Hotel and Country Club, Dublin 15. This will be a crucial year for the renewable energy industry in Ireland as a new policy framework should be in place in the Energy White Paper and a finalised Bioenergy Plan. In the Republic the industry expects considerable clarity for roll-out of a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RES-E), while the market in the North wants consistent enabling policy following UK-wide elections in 2015. IrBEA will again have a strong line up of speakers, both international and national, presenting industry models, policy perspectives and investment opportunities on biomass, biogas, energy crops, etc, to stimulate lively discussion and strong media coverage. It will be an opportunity for delegates and exhibitors to network and discuss future plans. We also plan to organise a network dinner on the evening of the event, as this was a successful addition to the 2015 conference. Organisations interested in exhibiting at the conference contact Teresa O'Brien Details of speakers and other conference information will be released in the coming weeks. 

Free AD online training course
IrBEA, in association with the Renewable Energy Academy (RENAC) Berlin, are offering a free three-month anaerobic digestion online training course 'Sustainable small-scale biogas from agri-food waste for energy self-sufficiency'. Supported through the EU-funded Biogas3 project, the training provides important know-how about technical, economic and environmental aspects of biogas production in the agri-food sector. It will also cover best practices, legal and financial aspects which are specific to these type of projects. The course must be completed by the end of February 2016. For further information and registration, please see here

Strong interest in WFQA at AFBI wood chip quality event
Around 70 people attended the wood chip quality workshop at AFBI Hillsborough on 8 September. IrBEA Executive Noel Gavigan provided detailed insight into how the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance scheme works, including standards, audits, compliance requirements and costs...and a vivid demonstration of how to determine chip size when sampling. WFQA member Kenny McCauley (McCauley Wood Fuels) gave a suppliers view, including numerous illustrations, and tips on how to maximise benefits from the scheme. There is strong interest in NI about WFQA as an industry standard. This was clear from a presentation by DETI official Seamus Hughes, and DETI's intention is now to examine the practicalities of introducing a similar scheme in the North, possibly including recognition of the WFQA alongside the the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) - a sustainability standard used for assessing fuel eligibility for RHI payments. AFBI's Chris Johnston presented findings on fuel characteristics and performance used at the institute - of interest to developers. Cathal Ellis outlined requirements for supply, by competitive tender, of wood chip to CAFRE Greenmount. View presentations here 

IrBEA submission to EU waste consultation
This submission, made in the first week of September, can be viewed here. IrBEA Management Committee member Padraic O'Neill took the lead on this.

Latest News
Degression changes to Northern Ireland RHI 
is introducing a tiered RHI tariff structure in the North for biomass heating systems from 5 October 2015. This will apply to non-domestic biomass installations made on or after 4 November 2015. The first 1314 hours will be paid at the standard tariff with a reduced tariff of 1.5 pence per kWh applied thereafter. It is expected that the higher tier will cover the capital cost and the reduced tier the ongoing running costs. Currently the non domestic medium biomass tariff reduces from 6.4 p to 1.5 p for installations over 99kW. In the GB Non Domestic RHI scheme, the equivalent biomass tariff reduces at 200kw. The majority of applications to date to the NI RHI scheme have been for 99kw biomass installations. DETI is therefore proposing to extend the existing 6.4p biomass tariff banding (20-99kw) to installations above 99kw in size. The maximum installation size in the revised tariff banding will be 199kW. In addition a cap of 400,000kWh will be applied as a maximum annual heat payment. Any additional heat over this cap will not be eligible for payments. Full details here.

€500k in new EI funding to support start-ups in agricultural & manufacturing sectors
Enterprise Ireland has launched a new €500,000 Competitive Start Fund to stimulate start-up activity in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. This fund provides for up to €50,000 in equity support for each successful applicant, opened on 16th Sept and closes on Wed 30th Sept. The aim is to help start-up and early stage companies get off the ground and launch new products and services in the international marketplace. At the Ploughing Championship (22-24 Sept, Ratheniska, Co Laois) Enterprise Ireland staff will be available to answer any queries from potential applicants and entrepreneurs about the Fund. See full eligibility details here

New Energy Efficiency Research funds - SEAI
SEAI has just published (17 Sept) a call for energy efficiency research proposals. The aims of this call are to: a) Stimulate knowledge concerning innovative approaches to supporting the faster deployment of energy efficiency upgrades within the residential sector; and b) Achieve energy and carbon emission savings and fossil fuel displacement resulting in mass deployment. Proposals should be effective in producing durable models capable of application to the existing Better Energy Programmes. Response deadline is 9 October 2015. SEAI contact person is Nathalie Sheridan 01 808 2130. For more information, refer to the notice published on

Irish company to receive EU funding for project to transform pig waste into biogas 

An Irish-led project to develop a system to produce biogas from pig manure has secured EU innovation funding. Waterford-based Ashleigh Farms Ltd is the lead partner in a project to develop an integrated novel microwave pre-treatment system for the efficient production of biogas from the anaerobic digestion of pig manure.  The other partners are based in France, Romania and the UK. EU funding of €1.36 million awarded is to help bring the project to market.

Interim N & P statements available to farmers online
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has made Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements for the period January to June 2015 available online to all farmers registered with These statements, for cattle only, assist farmers in deciding whether or not they need to take any action before the end of the year to stay within the limits set down in the Nitrates Regulations.
DAFM will also issue text messages to those farmers registered for this service, who at the end of June are at or over 75 kgs of Nitrogen per hectare (approaching or likely to exceed the limit by year end).  DAFM urges farmers who receive this text, and who are not derogation applicants, to heed the warning and take steps to reduce the nitrates loading before the end of the year. Options outlined include exporting slurry/farmyard manure or renting additional land. Interim statements are now available bi-monthly. Farmers not registered can do so by logging onto

Practical info and events from Rokwood Project

  • This publication, ‘Energy crops in Europe: Best practice in SRP biomass from Germany, Ireland, Poland, Spain, Sweden & UK’ includes 40 SRP case studies on all aspects of production, processing and use – insight from people and organisations that have been there and done it.
  • From 5 October 2015 anyone receiving payments under the UK’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme need to show their fuel is sourced from sustainable sources. If you are using woodfuel (including SRC) the easiest way to comply is to source your fuel from a company listed on the Biomass Suppliers List or register on the list as a self-supplier. Users of non-woody fuels (e.g. straw or miscanthus) need to self-report – read a blog about this here.
  • Training workshop, 28 September 2015  |  Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon  |  Focus is on the use of woody energy crops grown as short rotation plantations (SRPs) to provide fuel for heating whole villages. A presentation by Clemens von König of Agraligna on the Beuchte Energy Village (Germany) in which a 65-house district heating scheme is fuelled exclusively by SRP. View also Dartington’s short rotation forestry plantations. This event is FREE including lunch subject to registering. Contact Annette Lamley on 0117 934 1415 or email
  • Rokwood marketplace. The Rokwood marketplace has been set up for organisations to showcase their business and research offers and find partners. It aims to be the largest publicly available database of SRP businesses in the world. So far 42 UK organisations have signed up. If your company or academic research institution is involved in SRPs you can register here

Climate Change USA: Obama's Clean Power Plan and what it means
US President Barack Obama has unveiled what he called "the biggest, most important step we have ever taken" in tackling climate change. The aim of the revised Clean Power Plan is to cut greenhouse gas emissions from US power stations by nearly a third within 15 years. The measures will place significant emphasis on wind and solar power and other renewable energy sources. This article gives a simple breakdown of what the plan wants to do, and if it is passed what it means for the USA. View

Forestry could be five times more profitable than hill sheep farming – Scottish study
Forestry could be five times more profitable than upland sheep farming, Confer, the Scottish organisation promoting forestry and wood, says. Scottish hill farmers have been urged to consider diversifying their farming operations by planting woodland after new figures show a significant increase in the relative benefits of forestry to farming in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. A report commissioned by Confer examined 20,000ha in an area of Dumfries & Galloway, concluded that once established, productive conifer forestry is delivering an annual surplus of more than £4m based on figures from 2011 and 2012. By comparison, if hill farming continued on the same area of land, a loss of £930,000 would be expected before subsidy, more than double the deficit of £438,000 recorded in the earlier report. Read full Agriland article
Adapting agriculture to climate change: a role for public policies – OECD
This OECD paper considers the adaptation actions farmers undertake to meet changing climate conditions – often without any government intervention. The report says when such actions provide both private and public benefits, the public sector may play a role in how these are developed. It reviews various national agri-sector adaptation strategies in OECD countries and identifies the main criteria under which governments can take action to increase the resilience of agriculture and its adaptive capacity to climate change. Read report here 

Drax bioenergy conversion boost to renewables electricity generation in UK
As renewables share of UK electricity generation continues to rise, so too does bioenergy's contribution. Generation from bioenergy increased from 4.6 TWh during the first quarter of last year to 6.7 TWh during the first quarter of this year, with the majority from plant biomass. The increase is mainly due to the second conversion at Drax Power Station from cofiring to dedicated biomass. According to DECC, plant biomass showed the highest increase in both absolute and percentage change in generation. Read full article

UK Department of Transport awards £25m advanced biofuel projects
The UK Government has awarded £25 million funding to three companies to turn waste products into biofuel. Celtic Renewables in Edinburgh will receive £11 million to use waste products from the whiskey industry and turn it into biofuels for cars and trucks. Advanced Plasma Power in Swindon will receive £11 million to help develop biofuels from household waste. And Nova Pangaea in Tees Valley will receive £3 million to help make biofuels from forestry waste. Transport Minister Andrew Jones said the funds are an example of the UK’s commitment to innovative transport technology and support of jobs and growth. Read full article

Biomass supply chains, biogas storage systems, research on poplar for biofuels, and getting more from your wood – USA models
These five articles in Biomass Magazine could stir the creative juices. The first is how fuel log, puck and briquette production equipment manufacturers are expanding customers’ feedstock options and extending their market reach, here. The second explores adequately drying wood chip fuel as an important component of maximising heat and power production, and that techniques vary widely, here. The third article considers the main challenges in constructing an effective agri biomass supply chain, and how they are influenced by a variety of factors, here. The fourth article takes a look at storage at biogas plants – although usually short-term, storage can ensure generating systems receive a steady gas flow at desired volume and pressure, here. And the fifth follows the results to date of a 5-year study on converting sustainably produced poplar feedstock into fuels and chemicals, here.


Chris Johnston, AFBI, presenting at the wood chip quality event 8 Sept.

Upcoming Events

European News
Biofuel consumption recovers
Biofuel consumption for transport picked up in Europe after a year of uncertainty and decline, increasing by 6.1% over 2013 to 14 million toe. However it is still below 2012 levels when 14.5 Mtoe was incorporated. Consumption of biofuel that meets the European Renewable Energy Directive's sustainability criteria rose to 12.5 Mtoe, it's highest level so far. Read more in Biofuels Barometer

Bridging update on RES in EU Member States
As 2014 is a year without progress reports from Member State on their situation of RES shares, EurObserv'ER has filled this gap by producing its own bridging report based on 2013 data. Among the EU28 Members States, three States have already achieved their 2020 targets, namely Bulgaria, Estonia, and Sweden. The report shows great disparity of national efforts made to reach 2020 targets. This document is one of the EurObserv’ER contributions for COP21 Paris Climate Conference starting November 30th. Full report here and press release here

BioRES in Balkan states 
BioRES is a EU project which aims at introducing the innovative concept of Biomass Logistic and Trade Centres (BLTCs) in Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria based on international cooperation with European technology leaders. The BLTCs as regional hubs will help increase local supply and demand for woody bioenergy products.

BASIS project: Coordinated by AEBIOM, this project has identified 3739 bioenergy plants using wood chips in Europe. The information of these plants is displayed in a map together with information on other wood chips users (pulp, particle board, pellet manufacturers), biomass potential and information on sustainability. A comprehensive tool providing up-to-date data on the feedstock situation. Visit

Small scale anaerobic digestion project – REA and Bangor University:
The Renewable Energy Association (UK) has been working on a scientific project with Bangor university focused on small scale anaerobic digestion (<100 kWe). It has a particular focus on greenhouse gas emission abatement potential and its cost effectiveness in abating CO2(eq) emissions when compared with other options. This work concludes that even at a FIT rate of 20p/kWh, small scale farm anaerobic digestion primarily by slurry/manure and waste residues would only cost £60 per tonne of CO2 saved and therefore represent very cost-effective greenhouse gas abatement. The full report is available here. A poster summarising the findings of this project can be found here. This can be used by members and any other relevant stakeholders to promote the case for higher level of support for small scale ‘on-site’ anaerobic digestion.

The first biogas upgrading plant in Vienna now operational. A special process biogas, produced from kitchen waste in the biogas plant in Vienna-Simmering, is converted into biomethane in the new facility and fed into the natural gas grid. The new biogas upgrading plant produces annually more than one million cubic meters of CO2-neutral biomethane from around 22,000 tonnes of biogenic kitchen waste. Nine hundred Viennese households are thus supplied with environmentally friendly biomethane. This saves more than 3,000 tons of CO2. Read more here
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