Anaerobic Digestion in Ireland

Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is the process which involves the breakdown of organic material by bacteria in an oxygen-free environment to create biogas. Farm, municipal and industrial based plants convert waste material into biogas. Agricultural wastes (animal residues, sewage sludge) and industrial waste (food/canteen waste, waste vegetable oils) are the most common feedstocks used in the AD conversion process. Waste material is fed into a digester which contains bacteria. The digester is a closed container and contains zero oxygen. The biogas produced is used for heat and power and the process residue can then be used as a fertiliser.

Currently in the Rep. of Ireland, there are only six anaerobic digestion plants, mostly in the south and south-east of the country, this is compared with 26 in Northern Ireland.  Some of the reasons for the low level of plants in the ROI include a complex planning and licensing system with 8 different permissions required, grid connection costs, unattractive electricity tariffs, financing issues and uncertainty in waste policy.  This is an area which has potential to grow, with the help of policy development and financial incentives to support the industry.

More information on the anaerobic digestion process can be found on the BioPAD website at and on the IrBEA website at

Cré, the Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland, are holding their annual conference ‘New Directions & Implications’ on 8th September in the Killashee House Hotel, in Naas Co. Kildare.  Discussions at this will include, the New Waste Legislation Changes; The Export of Waste; The Regional Waste Plans Process; The Draft Bioenergy Strategy for Anaerobic Digestion; Brown Bin Awareness Raising Initiatives and a R&D forum. For further details on this conference, please go to


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)
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