Ireland's emerging anaerobic digestion (AD) industry has received significant attention in recent years, despite few plants actually being operational.

While Ireland has ambitious targets for AD, there remains considerable debate and uncertainty surrounding the sector's future development.

Many farmers point to Northern Ireland, where electricity production through anaerobic digestion serves as an example of what can be achieved at farm level – advocating for a similar industry in Ireland. However, development trends across Europe lean toward larger plants that produce biomethane gas, with fewer, smaller electricity-producing facilities being constructed.

So what is the emerging model for Ireland's AD industry and what opportunities lie ahead for farmers? This was the topic of conversation during a panel session at this year's National Ploughing Championships with Paul O'Brien, chair of the IFA Environmental & Rural Affairs Committee; Pat Harte, chief technology officer of Carbon AMS, and the Irish Farmers Journal.