• Caoilin Rafferty
  • 3 min read

In Ireland, businesses are beginning to seize the opportunity to capitalise on bioenergy. Bioenergy is one of the world’s fastest growing renewable energy sectors.

Bioenergy is renewable energy derived from organic sources such plant matter, food and animal waste. Approximately 40% of all renewable energy produced in Ireland comes from Bioenergy fuels. Of that, 68% comes from biomass. When we use sustainable biomass fuels to replace fossil fuels we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, approx. 3% of the energy we use in Ireland comes from Biomass.

Bill Kelly, Hotelier, Kelly's Resort and Spa, Co Wexford

Kelly’s Hotel using biomass for energy savings

Kelly’s Resort Hotel and Spa is situated along the sandy beaches of Wexford. They have made the switch from oil to biomass to heat their buildings.

This popular four-star hotel with 126 rooms has been in operation since 1895 and is managed today by the fourth and fifth generation of the Kelly family.

Bill Kelly, the Proprietor of the hotel is very conscious of the needs and aspirations of his guests. He says: “More and more customers are very green aware. They are looking to visit hotels that are working on a sustainability plan for the future”.

“We decided to go with a wood chip boiler because it was carbon neutral and because there was serious cost savings to be made. We were using 175,000 litres to 200,000 litres of oil per annum. We are now using less than 50,000 litres of oil per annum”, he continues.

Bill adds an important thing to note about the use of the biomass. Firsly, it is not visible to the customer. Also, he can operate his hotel every bit as well using biomass as he would using oil or gas.

Kelly’s Hotel put a huge amount of effort into keeping their hotel green. They have a sustainability plan which Bill describes as an ‘ongoing process’. With the woodchip boiler, the hotel is saving 260 tonnes of carbon per annum.

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Biomass at Kelly's Hotel

GSK in Dungarvan installed a 6-tonne biomass steam boiler

GSK in Dungarvan, County Waterford is a pharma company. It is one of the largest employers in the South East of Ireland, employing up to 750 people. The facility manufacturers a variety of over-the-counter pharmacy and oral-care products exporting to more than 70 countries worldwide.

Liam Barry is their Facilities Manager and says, “GSK has always had an ambition to drive down its carbon footprint whether it’s in Dungarvan or across its manufacturing network”. To reduce their carbon plan, GSK installed a 6-tonne biomass steam boiler. This consumes wood chip at 40% moisture and supplies all thermal users within the site. “It’s been in place since late 2016 and it has actually ran for 7 months without stopping”, says Liam.

The biomass boiler at GSK Dungarvan has cut the sites carbon footprint by over 5,500 tonnes of CO2.

“The carbon footprint of the site dropped literally 33% overnight. We are saving maybe €500,000 per year on what we would be paying if we were buying oil, so it’s been very positive”, says Liam. The renewable energy heating system allows the Co Wexford plant to compete within the group for more manufacturing lines. GSK have sustainability as one of the criteria in selecting where to manufacture drugs. This, in turn, makes the site more secure.

GSK source the wood chip for the 4MW biomass locally. The boiler demonstrates that the move to bioenergy is a very cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels.


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GSK Biomass boiler project