Companies in Donegal who use large amounts of heat or run HGVs are being asked to take part in a study to determine the cost and CO2 savings from switching from oil and diesel to natural gas.
The study will determine the feasibility of using special high pressure trailers to importing gas into the county by road, with a network of storage stations developed around the county.
It's being funded by Gas Networks Ireland, with input from LYIT and Greenleaf Bioenergy.
Stephen Robb of Greenleaf Bioenergy says it's unlikely we'll ever see a gas pipeline into Donegal, so a viable alternative is needed.............
Donegal is one of three counties in the western region of Ireland which is not connected to the GNI national gas network.
As the gas grid expands and more consumers (both commercial and domestic) gain access, the availability of natural gas will be taken for granted.
Lack of gas infrastructure may become a disincentive to investment, reducing a region’s competitiveness and increasing existing disparities.
This is particularly the case for food or manufacturing facilities which are often large users of heat. Donegal has multiple examples of this spread throughout the county.
Currently, these facilities are availing of fossil fuel LPG or heavy fuel oil to supply their heat requirements. There has also been a marked increase in the use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel in the haulage industry.
If natural gas was available, companies would avail of lower fuel cost and significant reductions in CO2 emissions. Crucially however, switching to natural gas provides a pathway to the adoption of 100% renewable gas in the form of biomethane.
This project is aiming to address Donegal’s infrastructural challenge by determining the economic and technical feasibility of developing a “virtual gas pipeline” for heat and transport fuel users in the county.
The model will compare the use of natural gas supplied through a purpose-built mother station which will be connected directly to the national gas grid.
The gas will be extracted at the mother station, compressed and transported to a daughter station located on the company’s premises, via road.
This project will demonstrate how energy users that are remote from the gas network can be supplied with natural gas initially, and in time, 100% renewable gas. A similar project in Scotland, The Highland project, supplies four off-grid distilleries including Glenmorangie.
Call for companies
Donegal companies are being invited to take part in the feasibility study. Any company who uses high volumes of fuel for heat or transport purposes are invited to contact the project coordinator Stephen Robb for further information.
Participating companies will be required to share information on energy usage and will be provided with a full, detailed report upon completion of the study.
The outputs from Phase I will help in deciding as to whether the project is viable and whether it is possible to progress to Phase II which includes the design, build and operation of the virtual pipeline system.
The Northwest Virtual Renewable Gas Pipeline Study has received funding through the Gas Networks Ireland Innovation Fund. Project partners include CNG Services, Greenleaf Bioenergy, the Bryden Centre for Advanced Marine and Bio-Energy Research. The project is due to commence next month.
To find out more, contact project co-coordinator Stephen Robb on 00353 87 2974610 or go to https://www.cngservices.co.uk/