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IrBEA launches “Transport in Ireland: A Pathway to Halving Emissions” report

Ireland has a clear pathway to halve its emissions from transportation through the introduction of a combination of policy interventions and measures including electrification, increased biofuels blending, biomethane, and driver efficiency measures, a "Transport in Ireland" report published by the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) finds.

Ireland has a clear pathway to halve its emissions from transportation through the introduction of a combination of policy interventions and measures including electrification, increased biofuels blending, biomethane, and driver efficiency measures, a new “Transport in Ireland” report published by the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) finds.

The report “Transport in Ireland: A Pathway to Halving Emissions – Meeting ambitious emissions reduction in Ireland’s Transport sector and the role of Sustainable Bioenergy” finds that there is no single solution to decarbonizing the Irish transport sector but by utilizing a combination of different fuels, technologies and driving efficiency measures, emissions from the transport sector can be halved by 2030.

The report was developed by UCC MaREI on behalf of IrBEA and was funded through sponsorship contributions from IrBEA, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Ethanol Europe, Green Biofuels Ireland, Green Generation and 3 Counties Energy Agency.

MaREI is a leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, coordinated by the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) at University College Cork (UCC).

This report provides policy and decision-makers with a roadmap on how we dramatically reduce emissions from our transport sector through the use of renewable energy resources, having a big impact on addressing our climate challenge. The analysis we’ve conducted demonstrates that a 35 percent renewables in transport ambition can make a direct contribution to Ireland’s 51 percent target in greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030, said report author Dr Paul Deane of UCC MaREI.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Paddy Phelan, President of IrBEA, said that the report shows how the renewable transport sector “must play a significant part in delivering on the Government’s CO2 emissions reduction ambition set out in the 2021 National Climate Action Plan”.

This report developed by Dr Paul Deane and his team at UCC MaREI is a call to action for the Government and to recognise the strong role of sustainable bioenergy. Bioenergy including bioliquids – ethanol, biodiesel and HVO – and biogas/biomethane, as an indigenous, locally-sourced energy source can deliver large emissions reductions across the transport sector in Ireland, Paddy Phelan said.

Biofuels made up 5 percent of total road energy consumption in Ireland in 2020. Renewable energy as a whole in the transportation sector accounted for 4 percent and needs to reach 35 percent in 2030 to deliver on the Government’s ambition.

Ireland is in the grip of a severe crisis where transport climate action is concerned. Emissions are actually increasing, halving emissions by 2030 means halving diesel and petrol use by 2030. Solutions need to be acceptable to the public, cost-effective and compatible with how people live their lives. Sustainable biofuels already save over half a million tonnes of carbon emissions annually, and that contribution could be doubled or more by 2030, James Cogan, IrBEA Transport Subgroup lead said.

The report identifies a diverse range of decarbonisation options and policy interventions required from the Government to deliver a 51 percent reduction in transport emissions including:

  • Delivering on the Government stated ambition of over 940 000 electric vehicles (EV) in 2030, avoiding approximately 2 million tonnes of CO2;
  • Increasing the blend rate of sustainable bioliquids on petrol and diesel (minimum of 10 percent ethanol and 12 percent biodiesel) as per the Climate Action Plan avoids an additional 0.4 million tonnes of CO2. noting that early action is key to delivering higher cumulative emissions savings;
  • Efficiency and behavioral measures that reduce surface transport fuel consumption by 17 percent by 2030 as per the Climate Action Plan 2019 avoid 4.7 million tonnes of CO2;
  • Targeting 5 TWh of indigenous biomethane production (3 percent of land area) for use in heavy transport avoids approximately 1 million tonnes of CO2;
  • Targeting 2 TWh of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils (HVO) avoids approximately 0.4 million tonnes of CO2, noting that Sweden increased the blending of HVO with diesel from 0 TWh in 2011 to 14 TWh in 2018.

We are delighted to launch this report and thank Dr Paul Deane and his team at UCC MaREI for their work. We call on Minister Ryan and the Government to adopt and implement the proposals, ambitions and measures outlined in this report. We call for the immediate ramp-up of supports, policy interventions for renewable transport and particularly sustainable bioenergy measures. We want to see enhanced Government recognition of the role sustainable bioenergy including bioliquids and biomethane can play to transition the transport sector away from fossil fuels. The recently published Climate Action Plan has yet to determine measures to remove a further 4 million tonnes of carbon emissions. Increasing the deployment and ambition for bioenergy in Transport through the Biofuels Obligation Scheme is an obvious choice, said Seán Finan, CEO of IrBEA.

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