Teagasc has launched a new three-year project aiming to look at farm-supplied feedstock for anaerobic digestion (AD) plants.

The project, called FLEET, will identify farm-scale, landscape-level and national-level economic and environmental implications of farm supplied alternative feedstock for AD at a regional level.

The first online meeting of the FLEET technical working group was held this week.

Teagasc claims that this research will be the first of its kind in Ireland to evaluate the potential for AD to address economic and environmental outcomes at an individual farm level using Teagasc National Farm Survey data.

The willingness to adopt land use change will provide useful policy insights and will be at the forefront of knowledge generation relevant to the energy sector.

Energy-related products

The project will identify the economic and environmental consequences alternative farm-scale feedstock solutions for regional AD supply.

Dr Maurice Deasy, a postdoctoral researcher recruited to work on the three-year project, said: “The coming together of industry stakeholders in the technical working group will assist in the development and deployment in the Irish marketplace of competitive energy-related products, processes and systems.

“The project will assist in identifying knowledge gaps and provide guidance and support for policymakers”.

Teagasc economist Dr Fiona Thorne is the principal investigator on the FLEET project, which is supported by the SEAI Research and Development fund.

A focus on AD

The FLEET project is just one of a number of research projects under way at Teagasc on AD.

Research is also on-going in Johnstown Castle and Grange into gaseous emissions for sustainable production of AD feedstocks, recycling of the resultant digestate as well as the fertiliser replacement value of the digestate and overall life cycle assessment of AD systems.

A collaborative project with NUIG is also pursuing optimisation of the AD process to improve biogas/biomethane yields.

Currently there is no support for the development of an AD industry in Ireland.