Bord na Móna pushes on with plans for 80,000-tonne rubbish gas plant in Laois

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Bord na Móna pushes on with plans for 80,000-tonne waste to gas plant in Laois

Bord na Móna is pushing forward with plans to develop a major renewable gas facility in Portlaoise that will use up to 80,000 tonnes of waste to create gas for power generation.

The proposed development for an anaerobic digestion plant could treat up to 80,000 tonnes of “non-hazardous, biodegradable, organic materials per year.”

The company is progressing plans by holding two community information sessions in Portlaoise Rugby Club in April to inform the public about the proposed development. 

The site of the proposed development is located approximately 3 km north-west of the Bord na Móna Cúil na Móna near Junction 17 beside the busy Dublin to Cork M7 motorway.

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The company announced the plans for this gas facility in its annual report in July 2018.

The anaerobic digestion plant could take in a combination of commercial food waste, brown bin waste, animal slurries and purpose-grown crops, amongst others.

It is proposed to use anaerobic digestion to convert the organic materials into biogas.

This would then be injected into the national gas grid, for supply through the existing gas network, to homes and commercial businesses providing gas equivalent to the heating of 5,500 homes.

According to Bord na Móna, the proposed project will bring significant environmental benefits through the sustainable treatment and conversion of non-hazardous, biodegradable, organic waste materials into renewable biogas.

The process will also produce a by-product (bio-fertiliser) which the company claims will be suitable for spreading on agricultural land.

This is similar to a plan refused in 2007, when Advanced Environmental Solutions (AES) waste management service, which is now owned by Bord na Móna, applied for planning permission for a plant to treat biodegradable waste by anaerobic digestion at Kyletalesha.

After two oral hearings and a number of appeals, planning permission was not granted for the Portlaoise plant.

The plan was refused for a number of reasons including failure to align with waste management, planning and renewable energy policy, the location of the site with no advantage for sustainable transport and environmental impact among other issues.

Historically, the firm has been Ireland’s main peat supplier using it to fuel three power stations. But it is now moving more into renewables development, biomass production and waste management. It will phase out peat harvesting for energy from 2030.

All are welcome to attend the community information session in Portlaoise on Wednesday, April 10 and Thursday, April 11 from 3 pm to 9pm. 

MORE: First look at the planned new Glanbia cheese factory in Laois.