Teagasc blasted in miscanthus row
Teagasc has been accused of jeopardising the future of the miscanthus growing industry in Ireland.
The row centres on Teagasc's plans to install a new demonstration biomass-fuelled heating system on their research farm at Johnstown Castle over the coming months.
However, the burner system that has been chosen following a tender process will not be able to handle miscanthus bales, of which there are over 4,000 in storage in the southeast.
While Teagasc sources said that the burner suppliers have guaranteed that the burner will be able to handle chipped miscanthus, Paddy O'Toole, of Quinns of Baltinglass, has rubbished the claim.
"This burner is totally unproven technology and even if it does handle chipped miscanthus it won't be satisfactory, since the most cost-effective way for farmers to produce and store miscanthus is in a bale form," said Mr O'Toole.
"Chipped miscanthus heats in storage unless it is treated with ventilation systems.
"But miscanthus 8x4x 3 bales can be stored without any such problems," he said.
However, Teagasc maintained that a unit that could handle bales would cost up to 60pc or €100,000 more than a standard biomass burner.