Gas Networks Ireland

05/30/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/30/2024 03:07

Gas Networks Ireland to connect new €63m Bia Energy Biomethane Plant directly to its network

  • Partnership with Bia Energy will be the first direct entry point for renewable biomethane in the greater Dublin area

Gas Networks Ireland and Bia Energy have agreed a significant partnership to enable renewable biomethane gas from the Bia Energy facility at Huntstown, Co Dublin to be injected directly into the gas network.

Gas Networks Ireland will extend its existing network to create Dublin's first direct Renewable Gas Entry Point at Bia Energy's new reconfigured €63 million anaerobic digestion facility in Huntstown. The agreement comes on the back of the recently announced National Biomethane Strategy, published by the Government and will be an important milestone in the development of Ireland's renewable energy sector, as more biomethane made from food waste from the greater Dublin area will be injected directly into the State's gas network.

Renewable biomethane gas is fully compatible with the existing national gas network and all existing appliances, technologies and vehicles that currently use gas. Biomethane seamlessly replaces natural gas to reduce emissions in heating, industry, transport and power generation. Structurally identical to natural gas, biomethane is a carbon neutral renewable gas that can be made from farm and food waste through a process known as anaerobic digestion.

Bia Energy's anaerobic digestion facility at Huntstown will play a significant role in decarbonising the national gas network grid and can be a model for further investment in the growing biomethane sector. Bia Energy is part of the Sretaw group, which was founded by Irish businessman Eamon Waters.

The Bia Energy anaerobic digestion facility in Huntstown was acquired by Sretaw last year and is being entirely reconfigured to enable it to process a wide range of organic material, such as, food waste, food processing residues and dairy and agricultural wastes. The anaerobic digestion process will also create a by-product known as biofertiliser that can be used to replace conventional chemical fertilisers, with significant positive environmental impacts.

By capturing the gas produced during the controlled decomposition - or anaerobic digestion - of these materials, the facility will initially use the gas to generate up to 4.8 megawatts of renewable electricity. However, it is being reconfigured to upgrade the gas to biomethane, in line with the Government's target of having 5.7 terrawatt hours (TWh) of biomethane production by 2030.

The partnership between Gas Networks Ireland and Bia Energy was launched by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., at the formal opening of Bia Energy's Huntstown anaerobic digestion facility.

Speaking at the event, Minister McConalogue said:

"The launch of this facility aligns with the Government's Biomethane Strategy and is a positive step forward in our aim to create opportunities for the Irish agrifood sector to produce not only food but also energy.

This facility embodies the innovative spirit and commitment to sustainability that is essential for Ireland's future. Furthermore, it demonstrates how, by working with local farmers and leveraging the expertise of Gas Networks Ireland, Bia Energy shares the Government's ambition to turn organic waste into valuable resources. Success will be this nascent sector reducing greenhouse gas emissions while providing the agricultural sector with nutrient-rich biofertiliser and alternative income opportunities."

Gas Networks Ireland will help support the growth of an indigenous biomethane sector by extending the national gas network to Bia Energy's facility and developing a Biomethane Network Entry Facility onsite to enable direct injection of the biomethane produced on site into the national gas network.

Gas Networks Ireland's Director of Customer and Business Development, David Kelly said:

"Replacing natural gas with biomethane in the short term is a crucial first step in the decarbonisation of the gas network. Biomethane can play an important role in meeting the State's 2030 emissions reduction target and having increased volumes of biomethane on the national gas network will enable businesses to procure this renewable gas to decarbonise their operations.    

Gas Networks Ireland is delighted to partner with Bia Energy on this project, which will not only enhance Ireland's energy security by reducing reliance on imported energy, but also support the decarbonisation of the hard-to-abate sectors."

Bia Energy's Managing Director, Brendan Traynor said:

"With an initial investment of €63 million, Bia Energy will create up to 30 local jobs, with plans for further expansion.

Our commitment to sustainability includes careful management and processing of food waste, offering a sustainable solution for food manufacturing, distribution, retail, and waste, thereby closing the loop on the circular economy.

We are also partnering with local farmers to provide a nutrient-rich biofertiliser, replacing approximately 7,000 tonnes of chemical fertiliser annually and supporting the growth of a variety of crops.

Bia Energy's Dublin plant is set to contribute up to 120 gigawatt hours (GWh) of biomethane annually to the national gas network, more than doubling the biomethane volume injected in 2023 and reducing nearly 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year."