We have recognised the potential of biomethane as a renewable fuel in Ireland.
Biomethane is a clean, renewable and carbon neutral fuel. Its potential as a renewable fuel for heat, electricity and transport is well-recognised in response to the EU’s commitment to becoming a highly energy-efficient, low carbon economy. Gas Networks Ireland recognises biomethane as a renewable fuel which can significantly improve the sustainability of the natural gas network and reduce dependency on imported natural gas.
The Gas Networks Ireland Network Development Plan highlights a growth plan to support 1.5 TWh of Renewable Gas in the network by 2024, with a projection of 11 TWh by 2030. This level of replacement of natural gas with indigenous biomethane is equivalent to 20% of Ireland’s current natural gas demand, which would be a significant contribution to the Government’s renewable energy and GHG reduction commitments. For a plain text version of this report please contact email@example.com.
Biomethane development is proving extremely successful in Europe with countries such as Germany, Sweden, Netherlands and UK rolling out significant biomethane infrastructure. The UK biomethane market has seen over 60 grid injection projects in just the last 2 years, delivering 5 TWh and demonstrating the potential of the industry in a favoured and politically supported environment.
Gas Networks Ireland has contracted with Green Generations in Nurny Co. Kildare to complete the first Renewable Gas grid injection project to act as full scale demonstrator for the industry, and to assist in finalising and proving the technical requirements and designs for subsequent projects.
This project commenced in January 2017 and aims to be commissioning in approximately 12 months. Gas Networks Ireland in conjunction with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities is progressing the formal connection policy and market arrangements for integrating more renewable gas projects on an ongoing basis. These formal regulatory processes are to be finalised by August 2017, and in the meantime Gas Networks Ireland is already engaging with over a dozen potential developers and projects.
Biomethane is one of the main types of Renewable Gas that can be sustainably produced in Ireland. Ground-breaking research into the use of renewable gas at University College Cork’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI) and the Marine & Renewable Energy Institute (MaREI) received over €1.5m in research and facility investment from Ervia and Gas Networks Ireland since 2012. This funding has enabled the both Institutes to develop their research beyond the academic sphere and into industry.
The Institutes have advanced many successful research projects already, in conjunction with other research performing organisations and industry partners. Key outputs have included the identity and potential scale of key feedstock resources and the opportunity to integrate into existing agriculture, marine, and industry practices. Biomethane is shown to be a key solution for resolving GHG emissions from agriculture, industry, and commercial transport, while also providing a clean carbon neutral fuel to displace fossil fuels. For the agriculture sector, biomethane also offers the opportunity to displace current dependency on imported fertilizers, improve land quality, provide economic growth and provide diversification of income for the farmers.
With such a significant increase in the use of fossil fuels for transport, Gas Networks Ireland recognises the opportunity to develop biomethane as an alternative fuel source for utilisation in natural gas vehicles (NGVs), primarily in the form of captive fleets (e.g. buses, trucks and vans). Worldwide, there are 19 million NGVs in operation, and of these, 1.9 million are in Europe. Biomethane deployment as a transport fuel is seen as a viable option for Ireland in the near future.
Research has shown that biomethane is far superior to first generation liquid biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. Of huge benefit is the fact that biomethane can be injected to the natural gas grid from indigenous resources and used as a transport fuel in NGVs.