Gold takes to biomass
Connacht Gold is set to become the first Irish creamery to embrace biomass when it switches 75pc of its energy requirements in the next year.
The move will slash €2m from the energy bill at its Ballaghadereen plant.
Speaking at the Teagasc Bioenergy Conference in Athlone last week, Connacht Gold's Marty Devin said the board of the creamery was com-mitted to moving ahead with the plan to switch from 100pc oil to 75pc biomass and 25pc oil.
"At the moment, the plant is burning seven million litres of oil at a cost of 60c/l," he said. "We can cut the cost by 50pc by switching to 75pc biomass."
The biomass will consist of waste wood from sawmills at Corr Na Mona, Co Galway that is partly owned by the co-op.
Mr Devin said the project was at the planning stage and would have a lead time of about a year before the system would be fully operational.
He added that several southern-based co-ops were also considering a biomass switch.
"Once we get going, they won't be long after us," he said.