IT Sligo & Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies (CREST) Programme develop small scale willow harvester

Willow harvesting on larger plantations is generally carried out by cutting, chipping and collecting all on one operation.  This requires large and multiple plant and machinery, and is not practical on smaller sites with no other significant plan and machinery demands.  Whole stem harvesting is recognised as the preference in smaller plantation.  This leaves smaller plantations with the option of costly plan hire, or labour intensive and hazardous manual harvesting.

CREST have engaged a Mechanical Engineering Level 7 student group at IT Sligo to take up the challenge to design and fabricate a small scale harvester suitable for use in smaller plantations.  The design and fabrication is complete, and incorporates a U-frame to facilitate tying of the collected bundles for easier handling after unloading.  Research and trial carried out previously at the Agronomy Institute in Orkney, Scotland, and the Orkney engineering team provided advice on their experience with the technical elements of the design.   The whole stem harvester is ready for use in the next season.

Further information on this is available from Mel Gavin (CREST, IT Sligo)

Crest A5 flyer

Overview of CREST project

The Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies (CREST) Programme has been developed to provide industry in the region with research and development assistance for innovative renewable energy and sustainable technology projects.

CREST facilities and staff will be accessible to develop, demonstrate and test new technologies and show how these can be integrated practically and sensibly to achieve energy savings. Depending on the nature of the project, the CREST teams can provide approximately 1-2 weeks of time and resources, free of charge, to assist regional companies in developing a product or service in, or engaging with, the renewable energy or sustainable technologies sectors.

CREST has four main delivery partners: Institute of Technology Sligo is partnered with South West College (lead partner); Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre; Dumfries & Galloway College. The four CREST partners will work together to provide the broadest possible range of knowledge, expertise and facilities to assist businesses.   CREST staff and facilities are available to small businesses or entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas but who currently do not have the physical and/or technical capacity to research, develop or test their ideas.

Who is eligible for CREST assistance?

CREST assistance is available to SMEs (small to medium enterprises) operating in the region and can be provided to individual entrepreneurs or businesses with up to 250 employees. However, priority will be given to smaller businesses with 0-50 employees.  Businesses and entrepreneurs from any sector, not only those directly related to renewable energy, can be eligible for CREST assistance.  The businesses CREST is seeking to support may be:

  • Core business in renewable energy and sustainable technologies, or
  • Businesses seeking to introduce an innovation to their products or processes which includes a renewable energy or sustainable technology.

What do I do if I am interested in CREST assistance?

If you are interested in CREST assistance, or if you have an idea for a project that you would like to discuss, please contact either Mel or Leo using the contact details below.

Mel GavinCRESTInstitute of Technology, SligoExt 5825

00353-71-9305825 (T)

00353-86-3099184 (M)


Leo MurrayCRESTInstitute of Technology, SligoExt 5825

00353-71-9305825 (T)

00353-87-7961781 (M)




About biopadblog

Developing a local bioenergy market can provide significant opportunities for rural and remote areas, by improving security of energy supply, contributing to a reduction in CO2 emissions and stimulating the local economy by creating jobs and keeping payments for energy within the local community. A new project, BioPAD (Bioenergy Proliferation and Deployment), which targets the Northern Periphery of Europe, aims to ensure that bioenergy becomes more widely used and that awareness of the opportunities it provides are increased. The project will help the development of bioenergy and improve our understanding of the links between supply and demand by looking at supply chains for a variety of bioenergy fuels and different ways of converting these fuels into sustainable energy. Understanding the supply chains and the ways bioenergy moves from fuel source to energy provision will help the establishment of robust and efficient supply services which can match local demand. BioPAD is led by the Western Development Commission (Ireland) and is funded under the ERDF Interreg IVB Northern Periphery Programme (NPP)
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s