€22m biomass plant gets green light
Plans to build a new briquetting plant capable of processing 300,000t of biomass a year have been unveiled.
As revealed in the Farming Independent last week, British fuel distribution firm CPL is to locate its €22m factory at the port of Foynes, in Co Limerick.
The announcement comes as a major boost to miscanthus growers, according to Paddy O'Toole of Quinns of Baltinglass.
Farmers have planted 2,800ac of the crop over the past six years, but have become increasingly desperate for a viable outlet for their crop, especially since the main promoter in the southwest, JHM, ended all its contracts with growers earlier this year. Some growers have resorted to ploughing in the crop.
"This plant will take up to 300,000t of biomass a year when it's fully operational," said Mr O'Toole.
"It is hoped that one third of the total will be coming from renewable sources such as miscanthus," he said.
Quinns are sending miscanthus in pellet, chip and bale form for testing in Britain in the hope that the new plant will incorporate the crop into its briquettes.
"I believe that if we can get this up and running, this plant could provide an outlet that would pay growers €80/t for the crop, collected from their yards and at a moisture content of 20pc," said Mr O'Toole. "This is the equivalent of €100/t for delivered crop, which would provide a good return on farmers' investments in the crop."