Green News

New scheme for biomass boilers and anaerobic digestion heating systems

The Government has opened the second phase of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH), which will provide operational support for biomass boilers and anaerobic digestion heating systems.

This round of the Scheme will support businesses and farms for up to 15 years for the installation and on-going use of biomass and anaerobic digestion heating systems. The Scheme is designed to support up to 1,300 GWh of renewable heat per year (equivalent to the heating needs of circa 120,000 homes).

Increase renewables

Overall, the projects supported will increase the renewable heat use in Ireland by three percentage points and decrease emissions in the non-ETS sector by approximately 300,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The scheme has integrated lessons learned from other similar schemes in other jurisdictions and, as a result, includes detailed eligibility and budgetary controls.

The first phase of the SSRH, an installation grant for heat pumps, opened in September 2018 and supports ground, air and water source electric heat pump installations with grant-aid up to 30% of the capital outlay. Under Project Ireland 2040, the National Development Plan sets out an allocation of Ä300 million for the rollout of the scheme for the period up to 2027.

Biomass is the biodegradable fraction of products, waste and residues of biological origin from agriculture, forestry and related industries including fisheries and aquaculture. 

Biomass boilers work by burning biological matter and outputting the resulting heat for use in heating systems. Wood pellets, chips, logs or other biological materials are fed – automatically, semi-automatically, or by hand – into a combustion chamber where they are ignited. 

Excess heat

The hot gas and air produced by this process travel through a flue, and are then passed through a heat exchanger, which transfers the heat to the water used in the property’s central heating system. The excess heat is also stored in a thermal tank.

Anaerobic digestion is a process in which organic material (e.g. food waste, agricultural waste, silage, energy crops etc.) breaks down, in the absence of oxygen, to produce biogas. This can be combusted to generate heat and/or electricity.


NUI Galway launch nationwide wild honey bee online citizen survey

As the summer season begins, researchers from Zoology at NUI Galway have launched an online nationwide Citizen Survey, the first in Europe, in collaboration with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, The Native Irish Honey Bee Society and The Federation of Irish Beekeeping Associations. They are inviting people around Ireland to participate by recording their sightings of wild honey bee colonies.

The researchers based in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway are studying the wild honey bees in Ireland to discover the number and distribution of their colonies and devise strategies for their conservation. Of the 99 species of bee in Ireland there is only one native wild honey bee, a sub-species called Apis mellifera mellifera or the Northern black bee, which is considered extinct in the wild across much of its European range.

The public are asked to get in touch via the website with reported sightings of wild honey bees living anywhere other than a beehive.


EPA report details Ireland’s emmissions target problems

Ireland faces significant challenges in meeting EU 2030 reduction targets for Greenhouse Gases.  Progress in achieving targets is dependent on the level of implementation of current and future plans.

• Agriculture emissions are projected to increase with an expansion of animal numbers.

• Continued growth in emissions from the transport sector is projected in the short term, largely due to fuel consumption from diesel cars and diesel freight.

• Fossil fuels such as coal, peat and gas continue to be key contributors to emissions from the power generation sector

Commenting on the figures Laura Burke, Director General, EPA said: “Our projections show that, in the long-term, there is a projected decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, as a result of climate mitigation policies and measures in the National Development Plan. However, to meet its EU targets for 2030 and achieve National policy ambitions, Ireland will need full implementation of those measures, plus additional measures in future plans.”

€10.2m available for new climate change research projects

The EPA is seeking proposals from the research community to help identify solutions to climate change and other emerging and complex environmental problems. 

With up to Ä10.2 million available for new research projects, to be awarded in 2019 and 2020, the Research Call is divided into three strands: Climate & Air, Environmental Sustainability, and Water. The Research Call highlights the importance of a clean, healthy and well-protected environment for our health, our wellbeing and our quality of life.

The EPA is funding more than 200 on-going research projects  and Research Calls are open to all types of organisations, within and outside Ireland.