The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) has welcomed the recognition of biochar and bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) as carbon removal measures in the draft Climate Action Plan published by the Irish government. The 2024 plan aligns carbon budgets to deliver on Ireland’s climate ambition of achieving a 51% reduction in emissions from 2021 to 2030, and to achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
IrBEA’s CEO, Sean Finan, said: “The production of biochar using pyrolysis technology is a valuable source of bioenergy (heat and electricity) and the resultant biochar can be used in a wide variety of sectors really adds to its attractiveness as a tool for fighting climate change.”
Following “extensive lobbying” for biochar to be included in the action plan, IrBEA stated that 2023 marked “a turning point”. Project Executive with IrBEA, Stephen McCormack, added: “While the mention of biochar is welcomed in the draft climate action plan, this may be viewed as a first step, and one which will require further policy development, research and support.”
Sean Finan, CEO of IrBEA stated that “The draft climate action plan acknowledges the potential role that biochar and bioenergy carbon capture and storage technology can play in carbon removals including the bioeconomy”.
The mention of biochar and BECCS as “potentially promising avenues” for addressing some residual unallocated emissions is outlined in this year’s climate action plan. Biogenic woody residue can be used to create biochar for use as soil enhancement, while BECCS can be used to remove biogenic carbon dioxide from renewable biomass power plants.
IrBEA will work with industry stakeholders to further develop biochar application scenarios within the pilot region of Co. Donegal through the ‘Circular Conversion Cascades to Transform Residual Biomass to Carbon Products’ project, which will place emphasis on the use of biochar in agricultural, horticultural and environmental settings. McCormack said: “We look forward to continuing to work with our members, including our dedicated Biochar and Carbon Products working group, alongside other stakeholders to further develop the sector.”