#VIDEO Foynes potential to become major hub for biofuel manufacturing


Andrew Carey


TENS of thousands of tonnes olive stones are to be shipped in to Foynes Port to be used in the manufacture of smokeless coal at Limerick’s CPL plant and creating 200 jobs in the process.

CPL Industries will have created a total 200 jobs when the manufacturing firm’s new plant is realised to its full potential in County Limerick over the next number of years.

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Previously, CPL Industries announced a major investment in Foynes with the promise of 142 jobs, but that project was jeopardised by the lack of government regulations on smokeless fuels.

This week, the firm announced details of and additional 60 new jobs at their new €22m plant in Co Limerick, where one of the components of the low smoke coal is olive stones.

The designation last month of Ireland as a smokeless zone has meant the company can now proceed with its plans for the €22m plant for manufacturing low-smoke coal in Foynes.

In addition, the company has revealed plans for Phase II of its investment in Ireland with an announcement of a further €15million to be spent on developing pyrolysis units for transforming waste and biomass into raw materials for low-smoke coal.

The latest announcement will bring to just over 200 the number of people employed by the company in Ireland by 2018.

“We announced our plans for this investment in 2013 and made no secret since of our dissatisfaction and frustration over the lack of progress on implementing carbon tax relief (for products with minimum biomass content) as well as delays in a Smokeless Ireland designation and planning difficulties. We had even begun to look at other options for the facility outside the State such were our concerns,” revealed company CEO Tim Minett.

Recent regulatory and cross border announcements “has given us the market certainty that we needed,” he said.

The plans were revealed in conjunction with Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Alan Kelly, T.D., in Foynes, which CPL stated has the potential to become a low-smoke fuel hub for Northern Europe, given the expected number of coal mines closures in the coming years.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Kelly said, “Introducing the smoky coal ban was an imperative for me on the grounds that it will save lives. But to have the industry, through CPL, respond so quickly by giving the go ahead to build this plant and create 142 jobs initially, with a commitment now of a second phase with a further 60 jobs, is an emphatic outcome also. It’s a real boost for this region.

“The investment is, of course, being made here in Foynes for one key strategic reason – direct access to a deep water port for importing raw materials and exporting end product.”

Minister Kelly added that CPL’s latest announcement was “convincing validation” of the Vision 2041 masterplan for Shannon Foynes Port Company, which envisages the creation of thousands of jobs over the life-term of the plan.


CPL Industries is Europe’s leading manufacturer and distributor of smokeless solid fuels.  With a turnover of over £120 million in 2012/13 and 500 employees operating from 30 locations, CPL Industries can draw on over 50 years experience in the solid fuel trade.  At the heart of its operation is the manufacturing plant at Immingham, North East Lincolnshire.  From here CPL manufacture and supply both the UK and European markets, including Ireland with over 300,000 tonness of solid fuel every year, which are sold under well known brand names such as E coal 50, Homefire and Phurnacite.

CPL Industries has a number of subsidiary companies, including CPL Fuels Ireland, which was incorporated in 2011 and has quickly established itself as a significant supplier in the Irish market with forecasted sales in 2013/14 of 35,000 tonnes of solid fuel.

Shannon Foynes Port Company
Shannon Foynes Port Company, Ireland’s second largest port operation, has statutory jurisdiction over all marine activities on a 500km2 area on the Shannon Estuary, stretching from Kerry/Loop Heads to Limerick City. The strategic location of its terminals offers access to the vibrant economy and population of a large part of Ireland.
The company provides a variety of services, from controlling navigation and marine safety, to warehousing, logistics and cargo handling. It handles the largest vessels entering Irish waters, up to 200,000 dwt, and have a track record of continuous growth and innovation.
SFPC specialises in bulk cargoes, which constitute more than half the cargoes transiting Irish ports. SFPC accounts for more than 35% of all bulk cargoes in the Republic (CSO 2010). Typical cargoes include liquid fuels and chemicals, ores, coal and other energy products, agri-business inputs such as animal feedstuffs and fertilisers, recyclable materials and various project cargoes, including wind turbines for wind energy projects.