Ireland’s answer to the biofuel debate

In a recent article by Anoop Singh, Beatrice Smyth, and Jerry Murphy they outline their strategy for effective biofuel production in Ireland mainly through the utilization of organic waste. The fuels they are to produce are to meet two criteria as stated by the EU

1) “ To achieve a greenhouse gas emission saving of at least 35% compared with the fossil fuel they replace on a life cycle analysis basis

2) Not to be made from land with recognized high biodiversity or high carbon stock.”

Biofuel will allow Ireland to decrease costly exports. The main fuel sources for this project would industrial and agricultural wastes that can be transformed to fuel through things like anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion digests the organic wastes into usable byproducts. The authors then break down how much of this waste and by products will be converted into various forms of useable energy. They also outline what type of facilities would have to be built in Ireland in order for these waste products to be converted.

Overall they claim that the energy they can attain from these waste by products is 68.8 PJ energy or according to their estimates fueling capacity for 93% of  the present private cars, and replace more than 33% of natural gas, 20% of transport fuel, and 10% of the final energy demand.  Even the more conservative practical estimates still have 22% of the private car fleet, 5.1% of transport fuel and 2.3% of the final energy produced by this source. The waste products mentioned in the paper are unique to Ireland, therefore the authors suggest that countries should look at by-products or waste products to produce biofuels and also to try to come up for unique strategies to fit their country instead of a one- size fits all approach to biofuel.

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