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Bioenergy Research

There is a long history of Bioenergy research within Teagasc and its predecessor An Foras Taluntais. Research on Bioenergy commenced at Oak Park in Carlow in the 1970s in the immediate aftermath of the first oil crisis. This research concentrated on short rotation coppicing and a considerable body of research was carried out during the 1970s and 1980s encompassing SRC agronomy, harvesting, transport and storage, combustion in addition to economic analysis. Interest in Bioenergy waned somewhat as the 1980s progressed due to falling fossil fuel prices fossil. However, the 1990s and the introduction of compulsory set-aside brought interest in liquid biofuels as farmers struggled to find alternative uses for land set-aside from food production. Research into liquid biofuels commenced at Oak Park in the early 1990s and initially concentrated on processing oilseed rape to produce pure plant oil and biodiesel, further research was conducted on alternative sources of oil including other oil crops such as camelina, waste cooking oil and tallow (animal fat).

Bioenergy research within Teagasc now encompasses a diverse range of subject areas including energy crops and combustion (Oak Park), anaerobic digestion (Grange) and carbon sequestration (Johnstown Castle). The objective of the Teagasc bioenergy research programme is to develop viable non-food uses of crops in order to improve fuel security, maximise sustainability, introduce new revenue streams for farmers and stimulate rural development.
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