BioPAD: Developing Bioenergy Solutions for Rural Areas

WDC launches BioPAD- a European Bioenergy Project

Local bioenergy markets provide significant opportunities for rural and remote areas, stimulating the local economy creating jobs and keeping payments for energy within the local community. Using bioenergy improves security of energy supply and reduces CO2 emissions. Bioenergy is a renewable energy resource, which is derived from any organic material (biomass), including energy crops, wood, and organic waste.

In Donegal last week Joe McHugh, TD launched BioPAD- a bioenergy project focussing on the development of local bioenergy supply chains. “This project provides us with great opportunities to share experiences of bioenergy development with Scotland and Northern Ireland, and for us all to benefit from the significant expertise of Finland in the sector.” Deputy McHugh said last week, “I am particularly excited about the local benefits that bioenergy brings, keeping money in our local economy and providing jobs all along the supply chain.”

BioPAD (Bioenergy Proliferation and Deployment) is a multi-national European bio-energy project, funded by the Northern Periphery Programme which seeks to grow the number of local businesses involved in bioenergy, both as suppliers and users it led by the Western Development Commission (WDC), Ireland with partners in Finland, Scotland, and Northern Ireland,

The project focuses on the links between supply of fuel and demand for energy by analysing supply chains for a variety of bioenergy fuels and different ways of converting these fuels into sustainable energy.

“Understanding the supply chains and the ways bioenergy moves from fuel source to energy provision will help the establishment of robust and efficient supply services which can match local demand.” said Helen McHenry, the BioPAD project co-ordinator.

“We see BioPAD as a way of enabling rural areas to use their natural resources to create sustainable economic development and help Ireland reach emission’s targets in the process,” she added, “Jobs created in bioenergy are spread across the entire supply chain from private forest owners, to haulage companies, to plumbing, engineering, and electrical companies.”

BioPAD aims to gain a better understanding of the current status of regional biomass supply chains for a range of biomass types including wood products, energy crops, and agricultural wastes. The project will develop tools to enable users to source and use locally available biomass, across a range of appropriate technologies (anaerobic digestion, combustion, or micro combined heat and power (CHP)). The tools will highlight key steps along the supply chain for each fuel type or conversion method and will be available in a variety of formats (e.g. web, mobile and app).

Speaking last week at the project launch, Mr Paddy McGuinness, Chairperson of the WDC said: “The WDC is delighted to be leading the RASLRES project which goes to the heart of the local community by using local resources and local people to provide a complete solution for renewable energy. The project will stimulate growth in the renewable energy sector, which will benefit local communities by promoting their independence and sustainability and creating local jobs for future generations.”

If you are interested in bioenergy and would like to know more about BioPAD or are part of a bioenergy supply chain visit


For more information contact:

Helen McHenry, BioPAD project co-ordinator, WDC 086 605 3264
Ian Brannigan, Head of Regional Development, WDC 086 604 8012