Limerick’s biomethane could replace all the natural gas consumed in the county

Bio Gas Installation Processing Cow Dung as part of a Farm.

LIMERICK has the potential for a biomethane industry which would produce enough renewable gas to not only replace all of the natural gas consumed by the 28,000 homes and businesses in Limerick connected to the 603km of gas network in the county, but would produce a surplus of the county’s gas needs and also reduce carbon emissions by over half a million tonnes annually.

Ireland has the potential for a biomethane industry which would replace more than a quarter of natural gas on the national network, create significant new agri-income streams, and reduce Ireland’s total emissions by almost four million tonnes per year — 6.5 per cent of Ireland’s total emissions.

These are the main findings from the Biomethane Energy Report, which was launched last week by Gas Networks Ireland, the operator of Ireland’s state-owned gas network, at the Irish Renewable Gas Conference in Dublin.

Structurally identical to natural gas, biomethane is a carbon neutral renewable gas derived from organic sources such as landfill, food waste, and agricultural waste.

Biomethane is fully compatible with the existing national gas network and appliances, technologies, and vehicles. It replaces natural gas to reduce emissions in heating, industry, transport, and power generation.

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The report is based on findings from responses to a market testing Request for Information (RFI) issued by Gas Networks Ireland to current and future biomethane producers in October 2022.

The report identifies 176 projects throughout Ireland that have the overall potential to produce 14.8 terawatt-hours (TWh) of biomethane per annum, amounting to 26 per cent of Ireland’s current gas demand.

The top five counties in terms of prospective biomethane production volumes were Limerick, Cavan, Kildare, Cork, and Monaghan.

With 19 responses, the highest number of potential biomethane production projects with the third highest biomethane ambition in terms of volume at 2,118 Gigawatt hours (GWh) are in Limerick.

Ireland’s biomethane potential as outlined in the report, both in terms of potential project numbers (176) and in terms of volume of biomethane production (14.8 TWh), demonstrate how achievable the Government’s target to produce up to 5.7 TWh of biomethane by 2030 is.

Gas Networks Ireland is confident that, with the right structures and policies put in place, the Government’s target can be achieved and possibly exceeded.