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Northern Ireland seeks to develop “sustainable biomethane sector”

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Encirc’s sustainability director, Fiacre O’Donnell has said that the “only way to achieve a truly Net Zero future is to adopt new sustainable fuel sources at scale”.
Fiacre was speaking in the wake of Economy Minister Deirdre Hargey announcing a three-month Call for Evidence seeking information and views from key stakeholders on developing a sustainable biomethane sector in Northern Ireland.
Recent research indicates that this region has significant biomethane potential due its large agricultural sector.
Welcoming the news, Fiacre said: “We know that the only way to achieve a truly Net Zero future, is to adopt new sustainable fuel sources at scale. That is why we at Encirc, and the wider Vidrala Group, welcome the ‘Call for Evidence’ by the Department for the Economy NI on developing biomethane production here.”
He added: “Decarbonising glass furnaces, which reach temperatures of 1,600 degrees, is no easy feat. Fossil fuels have been used for thousands of years to make glass. However, we see biomethane as a credible alternative to fossil fuels in the production of container glass in Northern Ireland.
“It can be generated at a large scale from the strong agricultural sector we have in the country, and using biomethane in Northern Ireland’s modern gas grid needs to be a key part of plans for decarbonising energy. So, let’s keep moving forward in our Zero Carbon journey!”
Speaking at the launch, Minister Hargey explained: “Moving away from fossil fuels is vital in the transition towards a greener and more sustainable economy. Biomethane can not only provide a locally produced, sustainable source of energy but also enhance our energy security of supply.
“This Call for Evidence seeks the insight of key stakeholders into how biomethane production should develop locally. Co-design is central to the Economic Vision, and all responses received will contribute towards the establishment of an effective policy framework to support the development of a sustainable biomethane sector.”
She also sees the economic benefit such a move could make for the Northern Ireland economy.
“The first injection of locally produced biomethane into the gas network last November was a welcome development which we must build upon. Implementing green technologies is often presented as a cost, but the development of the biomethane sector here presents significant economic opportunities for the rural economy in the creation of good jobs, raising productivity and addressing historical regional imbalances,” Minister Hargey concluded.






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