Early in 2020, the men of Ballaghaderreen Men’s Shed visited Biocore Environmental, situated outside Ballaghaderreen near Tibohine, Co Roscommon. Biocore Environmental is what is known as an anaerobic digestion plant and has been operating since 2017.

Two members, Tom Colleran and David O’Gara made a short video to show the processes that take place there.

In the video, Tom explains the work of the plant: “In the facility they take in waste material that is coming from sewage treatment plants throughout the west of Ireland and they convert that waste material into a gas. They treat the resulting dry matter so that it can be used on farmland for fertiliser.”

The Pump Room at the Biocore Environmental Plant.

To achieve this, the organic waste is fed through two insulated concrete fermenters containing bacteria which breaks it down to produce biogas. The gas is captured, moved into a gas compression unit, cleaned and then burned on site, producing electricity and heat. The electricity generated is sent to the national grid.

The resulting material is then run through a pasteuriser to kill bacteria and reduce odour issues and the result is a solid, dry, organic, nutrient-rich fertiliser that is then distributed to local farms.

Tom points out that the process is safe and kind to the environment and is surprised at the lack of odour emanating from the plant, even challenging Brian Giblin, the manager of the plant, if he would build a house beside it. “I’d build a house there, no problem,” Brian says.

Brian says that in Germany every town would have one of these plants with locals feeding their waste into the plant to get free heat. Everyone – local farmers, surrounding community and the natural environment – are winners.

This and other videos can be viewed on the shed website ballaghaderreenmensshed.ie