The European Commission’s RePowerEU announcement marks a decisive step towards the rapid development of the AD biomethane sector in Ireland and throughout Europe.
This is according to Renewable Gas Forum of Ireland (RGFI) CEO PJ McCarthy, who welcomed the new EU target for biomethane production of 35 billion cubic metres (bcm) (350TWh) by 2030.
“The sector is set to deploy 35bcm of sustainable biomethane by 2030, including 3.5bcm more by the end of this year. By doing this, we would replace 20% of the current gas imports coming from Russia” said McCarthy.
Biomethane, produced from anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, has the potential to decarbonise thermal heat processes, transport and support a move towards carbon farming.
The biomethane industry in Ireland is scaleable and is preparing to invest up to €1.8bn over the coming decade, McCarthy explains.
There are plans to develop up to 125 AD plants by 2030, with the Renewable Heat Obligation (RHO) Scheme set to be implemented by 2023.
“Ireland is well placed in relation to producing sustainable agricultural feedstock – such as multispecies swards.
"Teagasc has confirmed the availability of 2m to 4m tonnes of feedstock per annum and both RGFI and Teagasc would like to see 2% to 3% of this available as a backstop in the event of fodder shortages,” McCarthy explained.
While Government has made commitments in both the National Development Plan and Climate Action Plan 2021 to include and escalate the role of AD biomethane and targets, what is now required is policy support across planning, matching funding and the announcement of the RHO scheme, explained Mr McCarthy.
The RGFI, Ireland’s national co-ordination and design authority for AD biomethane, has announced the appointment of two well-respected leaders from within the dairy and energy sectors to its board of directors.
Dr Ann Marie Henihan, centre director at the Irish Dairy Processing Technology Centre (DPTC), and Paul Murphy of Climeaction, part of the Leading-Edge Group, have both joined the board.
Dr Henihan is a graduate from the University of Limerick with a PhD in waste management and renewable energy.
She has more than 15 years’ experience working in research, development and innovation at the interface of industry and academia.
Paul Murphy is the lead at Climeaction – part of the Leading-Edge Group of companies, an international consultancy focused on operational excellence, digital solutions and business decarbonisation.