Gas Networks Ireland to build Ireland’s first large-scale renewable gas injection facility in Cork
Gas Networks Ireland is expected to begin construction of Ireland’s first large-scale renewable gas injection facility next summer.
The €30 million Green Renewable Agricultural Zero Emissions (GRAZE) renewable gas project includes the construction of a central grid injection (CGI) facility in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork.
The new facility will receive and inject biomethane – a carbon neutral renewable gas made from farm and food waste through a process call anaerobic digestion – from up to 20 local farm-based producers.
Biomethane is fully compatible with the existing national gas network, appliances, technologies and vehicles, and will seamlessly replace natural gas to reduce emissions in heating, industry, transport and power generation, while also supporting the decarbonisation of the agri-food sector.
At maximum capacity, the facility will inject enough biomethane to meet the requirements of up to 64,000 homes.
“Ireland’s national gas network must be repurposed to transport renewable biomethane and hydrogen at scale,” said Gas Networks Ireland chief executive Officer Cathal Marley (pictured).
“Gas Networks Ireland is uniquely placed to deliver the necessary change, and with projects such as GRAZE, we’re already working hard to help deliver Ireland’s sustainable energy future.”
Marley said the GRAZE project is designed to showcase large-scale agricultural biomethane clusters that can be replicated in other locations throughout the State.
“Investing in biomethane in a large-scale manner has many benefits – both for the energy sector and Irish agriculture,” Marley added.
“It will create significant employment, with up to 6,500 new jobs, mainly in rural Ireland, and provide new income opportunities for local communities from the sale of biomethane, feedstock used to produce the renewable gas and also a highly effective organic bio-fertiliser digestate that is a by-product of the process.
“A domestic biomethane industry would not only support the decarbonisation of the agricultural sector, but it would also provide significant opportunities for rural communities and facilitate sustainable circular economies, with businesses powering their operations via renewable gas made from their own waste.”
Led by Gas Networks Ireland, the GRAZE project is supported by more than €8.4 million in funding from the Climate Action Fund, as part of the Government’s National Energy Security Framework.
Planning permission for the Central Grid Injection facility has already been granted by An Bord Pleanála and Cork County Council, and construction is expected to get underway next year.
The Climate Action Plan has set a target of 1.6 TWh of natural gas – around 3% of Ireland’s gas usage – to be replaced by biomethane by 2030.
Gas Networks Ireland is also advancing plans to transport hydrogen on its network in the future. Hydrogen is a carbon free, flammable gas, that can be made from renewable electricity such as wind, stored until needed, and then transported through the existing gas network.
While there is currently no hydrogen on Ireland’s gas network, it is believed that blends of up to 20% could be transported on the existing infrastructure today.
It is envisaged that by 2040 Ireland could be connected to the new network via a repurposed subsea interconnector pipeline to a future UK hydrogen network in Scotland.
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