Farmers and the general public are being invited to take part in a consultation on the National Biomethane Strategy.

The draft strategy, published this week, outlines how Ireland’s anaerobic digestion (AD) industry will be “agri-led and farmer-centric” with a focus on the supply of feedstocks, including animal slurries, grass silage and suitable waste streams.

The strategy aims to provide a roadmap on how to meet the Government target of 5.7 terrawatt hours (TWh) of biomethane per annum by 2030. This would meet around 10% of Ireland’s current gas demand and save 2.1m tonnes of CO2eq per year.

Currently, just two operational AD plants supply enough biomethane to meet 0.001% of Ireland’s current gas demand, so the task is significant.

What is being asked

The draft strategy is a product of nearly a year’s work by the cross-departmental working group, but contains little detail on what is being proposed for the sector, as was first thought.

Instead, the public is being asked to fill out an online consultation questionnaire.

Among the questions being asked is: what kind of support does the sector require, namely capital grants, operational support, or support towards feedstock production?

Size of AD plants

The consultation explores three scenarios for AD development. The first scenario looks at smaller, farm-scale AD plants with a 25,000t feedstock requirement. Some 250 of these plants would be needed by 2030.

The second scenario looks at developing 90 larger plants with a feedstock requirement range of 40,000t to 60,000t.

The last scenario looks at a mixture of 140 larger and smaller plants, which is the only scenario where Ireland may meet the 2030 target.

To meet that target, Teagasc estimates that 120,000ha of land for silage and 20% of all winter cattle slurry will be needed to feed these plants.


The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Housing also stated that they will develop a standardised code of practice for local authorities to be followed when assessing an AD planning application, acknowledging the lack of knowledge in the area from planners.