The first molecules of renewable biomethane gas have been injected into the gas grid in Northern Ireland. Tyrone-based Granville Eco Park, Dungannon, has today announced that it is injecting renewable biomethane gas from its food-based anaerobic digestion (AD) plant into the gas grid.

Despite three operational biomethane projects already in the Republic of Ireland, Granville represents the first-ever biomethane direct-to-grid injection on the island of Ireland as the other projects use a virtual gas pipeline model.

Granville Eco-Park is a large-scale food waste AD plant, which has been operational since 2014. The company produces renewable gas which is combusted on-site in combined heat and power (CHP) plants to produce renewable electricity.

Granville also has a network of CHP plants around Northern Ireland where gas is delivered in specialised trailers to produce electricity. The company also supplies biomethane for HGVs with a dedicated refueling station on-site.

Gas grid connection

The company has been working on securing a gas grid connection to inject and export biomethane for many years, working closely with the Northern Ireland Utilities Regulator and the network operator for the area, Evolve, formerly SGN Natural Gas.

Evolve, one of Northern Ireland's gas operators, makes history with the first-ever direct-to-grid injection of biomethane on the island. Pictured at the launch event are (l-r) David Butler, Director Evolve, John French, Utility Regulator,Darren Young, Evolve, Peter McClenaghan, Consumer Council NI and Mary O’Kane, Evolve. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

The renewable biomethane is now being injected into the grid, where it is blended with natural gas. The move is set to pave the way for other AD projects to inject renewable gas into the gas grid.

Gas supply

A study conducted by the Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE) and Invest NI found that Northern Ireland has the potential to produce over 6.12 TWh of biomethane per year, equivalent to more than 82% of the region’s gas distribution network demand in 2021.

The report demonstrated the pivotal role which the agriculture sector has to play in this transition. Evolve’s aim is to make its network fully renewable by 2028.