Optimisation of production of renewable gas

Optimisation of production of renewable gas

Name: Eoin Allen

Position: PhD

Tel: +353 (0)21 490-1997

E: eoint.allen@gmail.com

Funding Body: Science Foundation Ireland

Period: Oct 2011 – Sept 2015

Project Description:

Renewable Energy: electricity, heat and transport sectors In 2008, according to SEAI, 17% of final energy consumption was associated with electricity,41% with heating and 42% with transport. Much of the government policy and media commentary is based on renewable electricity as opposed to actual renewable energy. The EU mandatory target for Ireland is 16% renewable energy by 2020. The Irish Government target of 40% renewable electricity by 2020 is in itself insufficient to meet the EU renewable energy target. Renewable Electricity is well mapped out by the Government. Wind will predominate and wave will be heavily funded; electricity from wave power will secure 22c/kWhe. Issues in renewable electricity relate to the capacity of the grid to deal with intermittent supply and the potential to place and maintain 500 MWe of wave power. However the same level of detail does not exist for the thermal and transport sectors. The Renewable Energy Directive set a target of 10% renewable energy in transport by 2020. The Irish Government responded with a target of 10% of private vehicles to be electric powered by 2020. Freight and public transport use more energy than the private fleet. Thus 10% of private vehicles does not equate to 10% of energy use in transport. Also these private vehicles will still use a minimum of 60% “brown” electricity.

In short electric vehicles will contribute about 1.5% renewable energy in transport. A shortfall of 8.5% must be met with biofuels. The EU Renewable Directive also places strict sustainability criteria on biofuels which will disqualify the use of first generation biofuels. Ireland needs to place a road map in place for renewable energy in transport. The Irish Government set a target of 12% renewable heat by 2020. The aims of my research is to optimise anaerobic digestion and the production of bio-methane as a means of providing proven lab based results for industrial use to help reach RES-T targets and the 8.5% shortfall. Second and Third generation biofuels offer a solution the shortfall in biofuel targets through their conversion from organic matter to Bio-methane. Optimising the use of third generation biofuel feedstocks such as macro-algae and residues like milk processing wastes are key principles to be explored throughout my research. These feedstocks converted through the anaerobic digestion process will also be investigated as well as reactor configuration and design.

Environmental Research Institute

University College Cork, Lee Road, Cork

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