Ireland has the potential for leading biofuel revolution

6 Feb 2014

Work being undertaken at NUI Galway has great potential for clean-energy production, a leading expert in bioenergy and biorefining has told a bioenergy conference in Dublin.

The expert in question is Bart Bonsall, technology leader at Ireland’s Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy. He spoke at the 13th annual IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference in Dublin.

The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Biomethane for transport: a technical and regulatory framework’ and focuses on Ireland’s bioenergy strategy to meet its European 2020 targets.

Bonsall highlighted work being undertaken at NUI Galway as one of the best examples of how increased study, experimentation and implantation of the scientific advances in biofuels can lead a revolution to power public transport across the entire continent.

“Using the advanced high-rate, low-temperature anaerobic digestion technology for dilute waste waters developed by Prof Vincent O’Flaherty and the enzyme-based technology patented by Dr Maria Tuohy and their NUI Galway research groups gives Ireland an advantage in producing biogas more quickly,” Bonsall said.

“On the vehicle side, biogas/compressed natural gas vehicles are widely used in German, Austrian, Italian and Swedish truck and bus fleets. The opportunity is there for Ireland to create real jobs in indigenous bioenergy enterprise in two to five years, if we build the right commercial and regulatory framework for biomethane for fleet transport,” he added.

The centre led by Bonsall is one of the leading clean-tech organisations in Ireland and is co-hosted by three Irish universities, NUI Galway, University of Limerick and University College Dublin.

As part of its remit, the centre develops key research programmes and innovative commercial applications for a sustainable and competitive bio-based economy in partnership with its industry members.

Biofuel image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic