Helping Put Northern Ireland’s Sustainable Energy Sector on the Map

Samantha McCloskey of Northern Ireland’s Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy discusses the centre’s work on energy from biomass, energy systems and turbines.

The tremendous scale of the success achieved by CASE (Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy) over the past four years was profiled by the organisation’s Director Samantha McCloskey, courtesy of her presentation to the recent Energy Ireland conference.

She attributed the development of this ‘good news story’ to the partnership obligation, which requires CASE to work with commercial businesses in order to evolve technological research solutions, where sustainable energy is concerned.

According to McCloskey, CASE draws its research expertise from three centres of excellence: Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

The organisation was established in 2013 with funding made available through the Invest Northern Ireland Competence Centre programme in order to drive collaborative Research and Development (R&D) in sustainable energy. Three key research themes have been identified for CASE: energy from biomass; energy systems; and turbines.

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An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar Visits the Clonroche Biomass Processing Hub in Co. Wexford

IrBEA President Des O’Toole with An Taoiseach, Leo VaradkarPaul Kehoe TD, Andrew Doyle TD and Michael D’Arcy TD visiting a Biomass Processing Hub in Wexford visited the Clonroche biomass processing hub in Co. Wexford on Sunday 5th November. This hub, operated by T&A Byrne Renewables, services a range of commercial and industrial scale biomass energy clients for both Coillte and Clearpower in the South East and uses predominantly Coillte and the gradually emerging private sector log resource for its supply of biomass. Coillte and Clearpower are both longstanding members of IrBEA.

Continue reading “An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar Visits the Clonroche Biomass Processing Hub in Co. Wexford”

Increasing UK biomass production through more productive use of land – new report published

A new report summarising over 5 years of work commissioned by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has concluded that the UK should be capable of growing around 1.4 million hectares of second generation bioenergy crops by 2050. This would mean planting 7.5% of UK agricultural land with Miscanthus, Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) willow and Short Rotation Forestry (SRF).  The research suggests ways in which land could be made available for these crops by increasing farming productivity and reducing food waste. Achieving a thriving UK bioenergy crop sector would entail the planting on average 30,000-35,000 hectares per year for the next three decades. It also suggests that farmers could be persuaded to plant these crops by placing more value on the additional environmental benefits of these crops (e.g. flood mitigation potential, water quality improvements and pollination services) and improving the bioenergy market so that growing these crops is as lucrative as food crops.

Article by Kevin Lindegaard of Crops for Energy Ltd was one of the consultants involved in the Enabling UK Biomass and Refining Estimates of Land for Biomass projects that fed into this report.

BENI collaborates on BioTech Event -Opportunities in Biomass

BENI recently collaborated on the Biotech Event hosted by CREST at South West College, Enniskillen. BENI chairman John Martin and member Stewart Cameron joined a number of speakers who gave their take on current issues and the progress being made in the biomass sector.

BioTech 2016 speakers: (L to R) Michael Doran (Action Renewables and IrBEA), Paul Cairns (CREST), Jim Clarke (Invest NI), John Martin (BENI), Stewart Cameron (Glendale Tree Services), and Barry Caslin (Teagasc)

Lack of controls in heat scheme to cost NI public millions

Stormont’s failure to control a renewable energy scheme will hit the Northern Ireland block grant by £140m over the next five years, auditors have found.

A damning Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) report on the running of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme said commitments under the scheme have exceeded the maximum amount that HM Treasury were prepared to fund. Read more