A major renewable gas project is to be located at Mitchelstown, Co Cork, because of the location’s huge potential for gas from Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants on farms, fed by materials such as grass, food waste, slurry and other farm wastes.
Funding for the project has been announced by Gas Networks Ireland (GNI), which owns, operates, builds and maintains the natural gas network in Ireland, supplying 700,000 homes and businesses.
GNI confirmed last week that this project, to be implemented between 2019 and 2022, has been shortlisted for €8m funding from the government’s Climate Action Fund.
Called the Graze Gas project, it will provide Ireland’s first Central Grid Injection (CGI) facility for delivering renewable gas into the national gas network.
Gas from AD plants will be transported in special tankers to the CGI facility.
It is intended that the Mitchelstown facility will be the first of 17 CGI facilities, and that Graze Gas will eventually deliver 8% of Ireland’s residential gas demand, equivalent to demand from 56,000 homes.
It is also planned to fund development of over 70 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations by Gas Networks Ireland, to allow operators of trucks and buses to switch from diesel to renewable gas.
The first two CNG stations built will support 74 CNG vehicles.
Renewable gas from anaerobic digestion is a direct substitute for natural gas, and can replace heavily polluting fuels in power generation, heating and transport.
Carbon savings from renewable gas from farm waste can be offset against agriculture emissions, which are rising due to expansion of the dairy and beef industries.
Eventual Graze Gas project reduction of carbon emissions is estimated at 197,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum.
Renewable gas is believed to be the most cost-effective way of decarbonising heating of one million homes located near the gas network.
The first renewable gas will come on to the Irish gas network at the end of this year, from a facility in Cush, Co. Kildare.
It is estimated that full development of the renewable gas network will support the creation of 6,500 jobs, mainly in rural communities.
Creating an indigenous, reliable energy source will also reduce Ireland’s use of imported fuel and significantly enhance our energy security, while helping Ireland attain renewable energy targets.