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GRAZE Gas - a major step for Gas Networks Ireland

Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) has confirmed that a project to inject large volumes of renewable natural gas (RNG) onto the Irish natural gas grid, has been shortlisted for EUR 8 million in funding under The Climate Action Fund. The GRAZE Gas project will be a major step in achieving Gas Networks Ireland’s target to deliver 20 percent of Ireland’s gas supply by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050.  

On November 28, 2018, the Irish government announced the first successful projects under Round One of EUR 500 million Climate Action Fund. Gas Networks Ireland will receive up to EUR 8 million for its GRAZE Gas project to inject large volumes of biomethane (renewable natural gas – RNG) into the grid (photo courtesy Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment).

According to Gas Networks Ireland (GNI), the total value of the GRAZE Gas project is just under EUR 29 million and is part of a larger investment by GNI in renewable natural gas (RNG). The announcement by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton T.D on November 28, “confirms the Government’s support for Gas Networks Ireland’s long-term vision” for how the gas network can play a key role in decarbonising Ireland’s energy, transport and agriculture sectors.

The GRAZE Gas project will be located in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork and will involve the development of a Central Grid Injection (CGI) facility, through which RNG will enter the grid. The facility will enable the development of on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, which will supply the CGI plant. This model will be similar to that used by dairy co-ops, gas will be transported by road, in special tankers, to the CGI facility.

It is intended that the Mitchelstown facility will be the first of 17 transmission connected facilities, delivering RNG into the natural gas network.

Ireland’s gas network is a EUR 2.6 billion asset, owned by the Irish State. It is an asset which has a critical role to play in Ireland’s energy future and in the journey to decarbonisation that we are on. Gas Networks Ireland is helping to deliver a cleaner energy supply through innovation in key areas such as renewable gas. Combining the strength of our existing network, with a commitment to innovation will deliver the most cost effective and secure solution to our energy challenges, allowing our economy to prosper into the future, said Denis O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Gas Networks Ireland.

According to GNI, Ireland has the highest potential for biogas production per capita within the EU by 2030. The first RNG will come on to the Irish gas network at the end of this year, from a facility in Cush, Co. Kildare. It is estimated that the development of full renewable gas network will support the creation of 6 500 jobs, mainly in rural communities while contributing to a substantial reduction in Ireland’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The development of an indigenous, reliable energy source will also significantly enhance energy security and reduce the use of imported fuel. RNG is a direct substitute for natural gas and can replace carbon intense fuels such as coal and oil as well as peat in power generation, heating and transport.

In May 2018, Clean Ireland Recycling became the first waste management company to operate CNG fuelled trucks (photo courtesy Gas Networks Ireland).

In addition to the development of the CGI facility and associated logistics vehicles, the GRAZE project will fund the development of two Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations. These CNG stations will be part of a network of over 70 stations being developed by Gas Networks Ireland, which will allow heavy duty vehicle (HDV) operators to switch from fossil diesel to renewable gas.

Switching these large vehicles can help to substantially reduce Ireland’s transport emissions and improve air quality, with a 99 percent reduction in particulate matter (PM) when compared to diesel.

The GRAZE Gas project is being funded under the first phase of the Climate Action Fund, administered by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.  The project will be implemented between 2019 and 2022.

Both Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025 call for significant increases in agricultural production, utilising Ireland’s ability to increase agricultural output to its full potential. A significant downside identified with the plans is the increase in carbon emissions from agriculture, and further increasing GHGs in the non-Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) sector. Renewable gas produced from agricultural waste can achieve significant carbon savings which can be off-set against agriculture emissions.

About GRAZE Gas

GRAZE Gas provides an end to end solution for contributing to the decarbonisation of both the Transport and Heat sectors. Renewable gas will flow into the transport sector through CNG stations which are connected to the national gas network. The project will support fleet operators and hauliers as they transition their fleets to CNG vehicles. Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) has set a target to support 74 CNG vehicles which, on average, could assist around thirty fleet operators/hauliers.

GRAZE Gas, is a stand-alone project that runs from 2019 to 2022 and involves the installation of the first transmission connected Central Grid Injection (CGI) facility for renewable gas, a renewable gas logistics operation, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations and a grant scheme to support circa 74 CNG vehicles. The GRAZE Gas project will be located in Munster with the CGI facility being installed in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork.

The CGI facility will be serviced by anaerobic digestion (AD) plants that are being built in the area and will be built in the future. The Mitchelstown location has been chosen for the renewable gas CGI facility because there is huge potential in this area for farm-based AD plants that will be fed by a variety of feedstocks, including food waste, slurry and other farm wastes.

The renewable natural gas (RNG) logistics operation element of the GRAZE Gas project will transport the biogas from the AD plants to the CGI facility so that it can be upgraded and injected into the national gas network. The RNG logistics operation will be made up of four trucks and thirty trailer units that will service the Mitchelstown area to transport renewable gas to the CGI facility. The development of the first transmission connected CGI facility for renewable gas is an essential part of the GRAZE Gas project.

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