Smart ECO Hub – Irish wood-based biomass industry with cross-border conference


Ireland’s potential in establishing and expanding a wood-based biomass industry is to be highlighted at a cross-border conference to be held in the Carrickdale Hotel, Dundalk on Wednesday, March 26.

Smart ECO Hub delegates and representatives pictured at the World Sustainable Energy Days event held in Austria
(L-R) Ciaran McGrath- Smart ECO Hub; Neil O’Brien – Amber Green; Neil Greenan-Smart Bunker;  Sean Dolan- Dolan Energy;  Dwyer O’Neil –Amber Green Solar;  Aidan Marron – Activ8 Energies;  David Gibbons -Netronics, John McGahan- Innovative Roofing; Clare McAllister -Electric Ireland;
Jimmy Gargan Pure Heat Technologies; George Hagen – Northern Bio Energy; Alan Fannin – Dartery Technologies, John Martin – Green Energy Technologies; Vincent Boden- Down Light Attic Seal; John Cowan – Northern Bio Energy.

‘Biomass Energy – Growing the industry’ is being organised by Smart ECO Hub. The aim of the Smart ECO Hub cluster is to stimulate product development and commercialisation through collaboration. This project is part financed by the European ‘s INTERREG IVA Cross Border Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

This cross border event will combine a conference, networking opportunity and exhibition and will appeal to those with an interest in the biomass energy sector including policy makers, facilities managers considering alternative low carbon fuels, growers, equipment manufacturers, installers, consultants and researchers. There have been many strides taken both north and south in the area of promoting low carbon biomass energy. A number of initiatives have already been set up, creating a firm base for Ireland’s biomass industry, including the agriculture, manufacturing and retail sectors and those attending the conference will have the opportunity to hear first-hand from these entrepreneurs on how they set up their projects and how they see the future.

John W Martin who will speak at the event, was for many years a dairy farmer in Waringstown, Co Armagh. Today, the cattle are gone and instead John has found a firm footing with his 120 acres of land dedicated to short rotation willow growing, which is chipped, stored and dried on his farm. The conference will also hear of the success story of Gurteen College in Co. Tipperary. Under the leadership of Principal Mike Pearson, the residential agricultural college has reduced energy bills to the extent it now grows and harvests woodchip on 80 acres to fuel the College’s two 300kw boilers.

Earlier this year, Smart Eco Hub – the cross-border cluster organisation for the sustainable energy sector – brought representatives from 16 companies to Austria to attend The World Sustainable Energy Days event – this combines a major trade exhibition and conference program  and is the premier European event for Biomass and related sustainable technologies. Included in the delegation were those already involved in the biomass Industry along with people considering a move into the sector. Ciaran McGrath, Technical Manager, Smart ECO Hub, explained the benefits of the visit which has been swiftly followed by the decision to hold the cross-border conference. “Obviously Austria’s biomass industry is at an advanced stage. This meant that in bringing the company representatives to the World Sustainable Energy Day event, we could show them how much they can progress in the sector, as well as giving them an opportunity to network with those who have been in the Austrian industry for many years. “The Austrian visit was such a success that we felt there was a need to organise a conference and exhibition showing how we can all work together and watch Ireland’s biomass industry grow.”

The ‘Biomass Energy – Growing the Industry’ event takes place on Wednesday, March 26 in the Carrickdale Hotel, Dundalk.
Admission is €60 for non-Smart ECO Hub members, including light lunch. The exhibition fee for those wishing to highlight and publicise their product is €250.

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