Better Energy Communities

Bioenergy is a significant area of activity with 120 research projects totaling over €30 million undertaken by Irish universities during the 2004-2010 period.

Bioenergy covers a diverse range of resources; supply chains; processes and conversion technologies. Reflecting this, university based bioenergy research in Ireland is both diverse and dispersed. A number of institutions cover a spectrum of bioenergy research categories, whilst others focus on just one aspect. Funding for bioenergy research in Ireland in the period 2004 - 2010 was second only to that for energy efficiency.

This reflects European priorities - it is Europe's intention that by 2020 bioenergy will supply 14% of all European energy needs, and 61% of renewable energy supply in Europe.

The bioenergy research areas in Ireland mostly match stated European bioenergy research priorities, and also address a number of issues impacting on bioenergy development in Ireland. Funding is dominated by the Bioenergy and Biorefinery Competence Centre, which was established by Enterprise Ireland to be an industry led facility focussed on the future direction of bioenergy. The majority of the remaining two thirds of funding for bioenergy research in Ireland falls into the following fields:

Conversion - both into energy, and into final energy carriers such as biofuels, in particular

  • First generation biofuels (UCD; DCU; UCC; and UL)
  • Second generation biofuels (UL; UCC; NUIG; DkIT; ITC; and ITS)
  • Digestion technologies (NUIG and UCC)
  • Upgrading biogas at UCC
  • Conversion efficiency (NUIG and UL)
  • Thermochemical conversion at UL; WIT; and UCD.

Sustainability - this covers carbon movement and capture; land use change affects; economic sustainability and social sustainability

  • Life Cycle Analysis - UCD; NUIG; UL; and UCC
  • Land Use Change and Indirect Land Use Change - at UCD; UL; UCC; and LIT
  • Other sustainability areas - NUIG; UL; ITC and UCD.

Feedstocks - this includes resource cultivation; harvesting and pre-processing into denser energy forms, with research occurring at WIT; UCD; DCU and UL.

Other areas - such as co-production of high value products and long term RD&D at NUIG; UCD and UL.

Improved coordination and communication of RD&D activities in bioenergy in Ireland, and linking these with Europe, could lead to accelerated development.

The European Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan and the European Industrial Bioenergy Initiative aim to address technical and economic barriers to commercial deployment of bioenergy technologies.

Key Irish Research Institutions
Key Irish Research InstitutionsBioenergy Research Funding 2004-2010
Key Industry PartnersEuropean / International Research maps:

Irish Bioenergy Association:
Bioenergy Competence Centre:
Bord Gais


EU Set Plan:
European Biofuels Technology Platform:
UCC serve on an advisory panel for the EU JRC on sustainability criteria for biofuels, Bioenergy and biogas.


IEA TasksOpen FP7 Calls

IEA Bioenergy Implementing agreement representative: Pearse Buckley (SEAI)
SEAI receive support from the following experts on Bioenergy Tasks:
Bioenergy Task 32 - Biomass combustion and co-firing: John Finnan (Teagasc)
Bioenergy Task 37 - Energy from Biogas: Jerry Murphy (Environmental Research Institute - UCC)
Bioenergy Task 42 - Biorefineries: Co-Production of Fuels, Chemicals, Power and Materials from Biomass: Patrick Walsh (Energy Change Institute, NUIG)
Bioenergy Task 43 - Biomass Feedstocks for Energy Markets: Kevin McDonnell (Bioenergy Resources Group - UCD)


2012 FP7 Calls


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