TRACK 2

Inside the Farm Gate (Land Use)

14:30

PANEL DISCUSSION:

The business case for biomass, biofuel and biogas for farmers

  • More than just energy
  • Supporting sustainable and net zero farming
  • Alternative revenue potential
  • Potential to get paid for your farm waste

 

 

Moderator: James Cogan, Industry & Policy Advisor Ethanol Europe
David McDowell, Manager, Green Gas
James Gaffey, Munster Technological University Tralee

James is a Principal Investigator and Co-Director of the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group at Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre at Munster Technology University. James was coordinator of the Biorefinery Glas, small-scale grass biorefinery demonstration initiative and is also Scientific Coordinator & Principal Investigator on the BBI JU ICT-BIOCHAIN initiative, and PI on the BBI JU BIOSWITCH project. He is Academic Collaborator in the SFI BEACON BiOrbic Research Centre and part of the BiOrbic-led SFI Zero Emissions Challenge team. New H2020 projects include BIO4AFRICA, COOPID and AgroBridges. James is part of the core programme development team and lecturer on the Postgrad degree programme Bioeconomy with Business co-delivered by Munster Technological University (MTU), UCD and Teagasc. James has been a regular contributor to European-level studies into circular economy and bioeconomy, and has been a member of the Expert Panel for the Impact Assessment of Circular Biobased Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU) successor programme to BBI JU under the Horizon Europe programme. He was previously biorefinery specialist on the EU Horizon 2020 AgriForValor Project and prior to joining MTU worked at NUI Galway (Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy) as part of the “Bio-Éire – a Bioeconomy for Ireland” team. James has worked in the field of advanced biorefining since 2009 through work with Cellulac Ltd., Competence Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy (NUI Galway), Sustainable Biopolymers Ltd., tcbb RESOURCE, Tralee Institute of Technology and Munster Technological University.

Sean Finan, Chief Executive Officer, IrBEA

Seán Finan is the Chief Executive Officer with IrBEA, he is a Chartered Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Hons) Degree from National University of Ireland, Galway. Prior to joining IrBEA in 2018, he has over 12 years engineering and management experience with John Sisk & Son (Holding) Ltd. He took a two-year secondment from Sisk (2015 – 2017) to complete the full-time elected role as 35th National President of Macra na Feirme – the young farmers’ representative organisation. Currently a Vice-President of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) he also farms part-time. Over the years he has held various positions within many community, voluntary, representative and statutory organisations at a local, national and European level. Seán is leading IrBEA and its members for a sustainable future in bioenergy and to strategically position bioenergy to play a key role in Ireland’s Sustainability & Renewable Energy Roadmap.

15:00

CASE STUDY:

BioRefinery research project

 

15:15

CASE STUDY:

On farm AD production in practice

 

Bernard Fox, Farmer

I am the third generation born into and raised on the family farm based just north of the Armagh, Monaghan border.

The farm originally consisted of a dairy and suckler herd alongside an agri contracting business my father started in the early 1980’s, which changed to solely suckling and dry stock plus some poultry over the years so I had a great variety.  During my upbringing on the family farm I was involved in everything and given reasonability from a young age which gave me insight to all parts of the farm business including the financial end, from which my sisters and myself were always encouraged to have a business mindset and look for opportunities.  Over the years it became clear to me that the crop production and machinery side of agriculture was my passion.

As a teenager I started to work in the construction industry along side other things, which then led me to study and complete a Beng Hons Degree in Civil Engeering +DIS.  After graduation in 2008, I worked in both the Irish and UK market focused mainly on heavy structures i.e. Bridges, underpasses, culverts and highway construction.  As part of various modules (water resources, hydraulics, stainable environment, etc.) in the Hon’s degree we studied Anaerobic Digestion as a method to treat waste water while producing stainable energy and high quality bio fertiliser as a byproduct. This well proven technology quickly created the light bulb momentum of stainable/viable agri.  like most siblings from a farming family will agree there is always the desire to be able to return home to farm which never would have been possible for me via the traditional routes.

On the family farm we also started to process firewood on a small scale for a few year, but after I graduated I saw the viability of building a business out of this to help diversify the farm.  After a lot of research I secured funding from a rural development scheme which we used to purchase and setup a full timber processing plant to help meet the demand for our products and to really expand this side of the farm business.  This has been successful and is still in full operation today which we intend to use the excess heat from the AD plant to rapidly season our products to the required 20% Dry matter and below to meet new regulations.

While still in my final year at college I began my research into anaerobic digestion and more specifically agri based AD. This was a long road, as there was very little to no knowledge in this industry in the Uk or Irish market at that time.  While working as a civil engineer I continued to progress my AD research and knowledge involving several visits to Germany, Austria, Denmark, Holland, etc.

The research turned into a viable route forward in my eyes to allow me to return home to run and take over the family farm and I began feasibility studies and pre planning consultations in 2010.  This progressed to me obtaining full planning permission for a 500kw AD plant and associated grid connections and capacity in 2011.  I had always been progressing my own work on the side but decided to incorporate my own Company (RAMGen Ltd) in November 2011 involving works in  construction, consulting, agri and renewables.  I started the earth works on my own digester in 2012 with the main construction starting in 2013.  The plant was 90% completed by December 2013 but due to some delays on the grid the plant was connected and energised in February 2014.  After this the commissioning started but it was 2015 before the plant was above 90% capacity.

After nearly 6 years of operation we now farm approx 600 acres & continue to learn something new every day and continue to improve and optimise what we’re doing right from field to end product.

15:35

Solar: an alternative land use solution?

  • The how, when, why and what?
  • The opportunities and challenges for farmers

 

 

 

Conall Bolger, CEO, Irish Solar Energy Association
Awaiting bio

15:55

Networking Break

 

16:05

CASE STUDY:

Solar Microgeneration

  • How solar can power your farm?

 

 

Pat Smith, Managing Director, Local Power

Pat Smith is MD of Local Power Ltd, a renewable energy company focused on helping businesses reduce their carbon emissions and energy costs. He is also Chairman of MREF the Micro Renewable Energy Federation.

Previously Pat spent a large part of his working career with the Irish Farmers Association in various roles including CEO, Director of Organization and Secretary of the Environment and taxation’s committees. Pat has also worked with Sciottish Agricultural Industries and in Agri- consultancy. Pat has a B.Ag. Sc from UCD and C. Dip in Accountancy and Finance with ACCA and as a qualified Chartered Director with the IOD acts in a non-executive director role for a number of businesses. You can find out more about Pat’s business on www.localpower.ie which majors on solar PV , battery storage and EV charging solutions for business.

16:20

Is now the correct timing for energy crops?

  • Miscanthus previous failures and recent developments
  • Getting the infrastructure and support right

 

 

 

 

Barry Caslin, Energy and Rural Development, Teagasc

Awaiting bio and picture

16:40

PANEL DISCUSSION:

Funding and finance options available to assist landowners diversify into renewable energy 

  • Government supports and grants
  • The banks’ view on financing and farming renewables

 

 

Moderator: Denis Drennan, Chairperson Farm and Rural Affairs Committee, ICMSA

Awaiting bio

Paul Dullaghan, Head of New Business Team, Business Banking, Area North & West, AIB

A native of Galway, Paul is Head of New Business Development for AIB Business Banking in the Midlands and North West region. Prior to joining AIB in 2012 Paul was a senior lender with KBC Bank in Business Banking. A Bachelor of Commerce and Masters of Business  Studies graduate of NUI Galway, Paul currently leads the AIB Commercial lending teams in the North West across all sectors with a specific focus on Renewable and Sustainability lending.  

Cora Plant BA, BAI, CENG, MIEI. PlanEnergy Project Director

Cora is an environment and energy professional with a BA (Hons) in Engineering from Trinity College Dublin and 22 years’ experience working with public and private sector clients. She is a Chartered Member of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland.

She works as Project Director with PlanEnergy on utility and local scale renewable energy projects across Ireland. Her expertise includes renewable energy project development, grid connections, environmental assessment, planning, engagement with government agencies and local authorities, technology procurement, contract document preparation and project life cycle project management.

Cora leads a team of internal experts and external specialists working on the technical feasibility and development of renewable energy projects at community and utility scale. She leads the allocation of resources and budgets, engagement with stakeholders at a national and local level as necessary. Some of her recent successes include ECP2 grid connection applications for six community RESS projects, technical and commercial feasibility for three community led solar and wind projects as well as a programme of site acquisitions for an international utility.

Pat Smith, Chairman, Micro Renewable Energy Federation

Pat Smith is MD of Local Power Ltd, a renewable energy company focused on helping businesses reduce their carbon emissions and energy costs. He is also Chairman of MREF the Micro Renewable Energy Federation.

Previously Pat spent a large part of his working career with the Irish Farmers Association in various roles including CEO, Director of Organization and Secretary of the Environment and taxation’s committees. Pat has also worked with Sciottish Agricultural Industries and in Agri- consultancy. Pat has a B.Ag. Sc from UCD and C. Dip in Accountancy and Finance with ACCA and as a qualified Chartered Director with the IOD acts in a non-executive director role for a number of businesses. You can find out more about Pat’s business on www.localpower.ie which majors on solar PV , battery storage and EV charging solutions for business.

17:10

Networking break and back to plenary session at 17.20

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