Work on two small-scale farm anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, which are being partially funded through the Irish Bioenergy Association's (IrBEA) small biogas demonstration project, is set to kick off this year.

This European Innovation Partnership project aims to stimulate the development of on-farm small-scale biogas production by providing support and a capital contribution to three demonstration projects.

The original plan was to develop three demonstration projects. However, due to planning challenges and rising costs, only two will be progressing. Both projects have secured full planning permission, with technology procurement ongoing.


The projects are located on a 200-cow organic dairy farm in north Galway and a 180-cow dairy farm and farm food producer in Cork.

Around 50% of the capital cost of building the projects is being provided by the project. The AD plants are small-scale and will be producing between 30kWh and 40kWh of electricity for consumption on the farms.

IrBEA plans to hold open days on the projects, with the aim of having both operational by the second quarter of this year. The project will provide capital funding to the tune of around 50% for each project.

In addition to learnings from the planning, construction and operational stages of the project, IrBEA will also be carrying out a sweep of assessments on how small-scale AD plants integrate with farms in terms of emission reductions, water quality, economics, etc.


The Irish Farmers Journal received an update on the project from IrBEA CEO Sean Finan during one of its bioenergy information seminar series in December.

The project is proving to be extremely timely. As the industry gears towards the build-out of biomethane production capacity at scale, most projects progressing through planning are large-scale.

However, many farmers are asking if there is a place for small, farm-scale projects. The economics of this scale of project in today's environment are unproven and, thus, the learnings from these projects will be watched closely.

In 2019, IrBEA’s nationwide series of seven information meetings were attended by 461 farmers. The expression of interest process for those who wished to be considered for the demonstration projects resulted in 260 farmer applications.