Biofuels can provide a future
for Irish tillage farmers
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Thursday, February 01, 2007
There is a real opportunity for agriculture to contribute to first and second generation biofuel production in Ireland but this will probably take a decade to fully implement.
That was the view of John Mullins, chief executive of Bioverda Ltd., speaking at the Teagasc National Tillage Conference in Carlow, today, Wednesday 31 January 2007.
He believes that biofuels can provide a future for tillage in Ireland. However, he warned that currently it is difficult for a European operator such as Bioverda to justify investing in renewable energy projects in Ireland as opposed to better supported neighbouring countries in the EU as well as the US.
He said: "Ireland`s piecemeal approach to biofuel production means that companies like Bioverda will find it impossible to sell product into Ireland and will be operating in spite of any government assistance, rather than because of it." Bioverda is the only Irish company with experience in developing and operating large scale biofuel facilities in Europe and now finds itself locked out of supplying the Irish market with all of its production having to be sold in the UK and European markets.
John Mullins told farmers at the conference that as an Irish company, Bioverda is particularly keen to work with the Government and all agricultural agencies to overcome these barriers in order to provide investment in renewable energy infrastructure in Ireland.
He said: "The best way to effectively stimulate long term, sustainable and economic liquid biofuel use in Ireland is to place a mandatory requirement on hydrocarbon companies to provide a blend of 5.75% biofuels by 2008/2009. However, the actual target for biofuel use needs to be increased beyond 5.75%. The current Biofuels Scheme must be opened to any company who sells biofuel here, if Ireland is to grow a long term and sustainable indigenous supply chain and compete with its European neighbours."
He argued that in the case of biodiesel the properties of rapeseed oil for cold flow operation mean that it will always form a critical portion of any biofuels mix. By mixing higher quality indigenously produced rapeseed oil with other, potentially imported vegetable oils, a greater proportion of sustainable and long term biodiesel can be produced in Ireland. This will address the key issues of supporting Irish farmers by utilising indigenous production in Ireland as well as helping to ensure security of supply, diversification of risk and climate change issues.
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