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Institutes of Technology Ireland
Research & Innovation

The use of Miscanthus as an Alternative Energy Source

The Green Energy Growers’ Association (GEGA) consists of a number of regional Green Energy Service Companies (GESCOs) that are dedicated to the local production and processing of bio-energy fuels. The GESCOs are currently beginning to expand into integrated “Field to Furnace” supply chains, where they contract with producers to purchase biomass for conversion to energy.

Developing the energy production process is the key to supporting low-cost regional energy generation and supply. The national GESCO Network has carried out large-scale trials of various agricultural biomass crops such as miscanthus, which shows a higher potential as a fuel source, when compared to other biomass.

Though miscanthus is being used as an energy source in mainland Europe, the different climate and scale of use means that there is a requirement for technical data, industry standards and processing and combustion information for Irish conditions.

The GESCOs have experienced significant barriers to the commercial implementation of miscanthus as a viable biofuel in Ireland. They approached the Institute of Technology,  Carlow to assist them in designing an efficient, controllable process for the generation of miscanthus-fuelled biomass energy with financial return.

GEOCore is a strategic research centre based at IT Carlow. It conducts research focusing on developing a capability in modelling, testing, investigation and analysis techniques to optimise building energy and systems performance and to bring all built environment elements together in a multidisciplinary approach in collaboration with industry.

In partnership with the GESCOs, GeoCore developed a best practice framework for the processing of miscanthus as an energy source. It is anticipated that when this framework is developed to its full potential, the National GESCO Network will be in a position to offer a large-scale indigenous “secure, sustainable and carbon positive” energy supply to Ireland’s energy consumers.

The Centre also worked with one of the GESCOs, Kilogen Ltd to develop a prototype for the processing of miscanthus for large scale storage. GeoCore assisted the company with the construction, installation and testing of the prototype and provided recommendations for its implementation.

GEOCore are continuing to work with the members of GEGA to develop a process for the local production and processing of miscanthus as an alternative energy source for Ireland.

Testimonials

“Kilogen considers it very important for its business to work with an accredited external research partner, in order to gain and develop knowledge in a structured and scientific way. We have been very happy with our relationship with IT Carlow, which has created an interesting and ongoing dialogue, as well as producing some very useful outputs. The complete independence of the Institute is also of great importance and the work carried out on our behalf represents excellent value for money.”
Bill Madigan - Director, Kilogen Ltd.

“This project allowed an active research group at the IT Carlow work with a progressive company and to apply its expertise in helping to develop the sustainability and growth of the business. The researchers benefited from seeing their recommendations being implemented and the positive effect it will deliver for the company.”
Dan O’Sullivan - Researcher, GEOCore, IT Carlow

Client: Kilogen Ltd
Institution:
Institute of Technology Carlow
Industry: Energy
National Priority Area: Sustainable Food Production and Processing

External Services Manager
Brian Ogilvie

Institute of Technology, Carlow
Kilkenny Road
Carlow
Ireland
T: +353 (0)59 9175223

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GEOCore
Dan O’Sullivan
Institute of Technology, Carlow
Kilkenny Road
Carlow
Ireland
T: +353 (0)59 917 5436
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