Irish Tar & Bitumen first in sector to use natural and renewable gas to reduce carbon emissions by almost a third

Gas Networks Ireland today announced that Irish Tar & Bitumen Suppliers (“Irish Tar”) is the first company in its industry to switch from powering parts of its operations with heavy fuel oil (HFO) to using a combination of both natural and renewable gas – significantly reducing their carbon emissions by almost one third, overnight.

Over the course of its 86-year history, Irish Tar has become one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of high-quality bituminous road binders for the road construction and road maintenance industry in Ireland.

Through its partnership with Gas Networks Ireland, the company continues to differentiate itself from its competitors through the procurement of indigenous biomethane. Going forward, 5% of its annual gas usage will also be carbon neutral, as it replaces this volume of natural gas with biomethane.

Commenting on this significant step in helping a large energy user decarbonise its industrial processes, Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Business Development, Karen Doyle said:

“Irish Tar is a great example of a large energy user in a ‘hard to abate’ industry which, once connected to the gas network significantly reduced its CO2 emissions. Powering their storage and manufacturing processes with natural gas is an important first step and will provide a significant benefit – in this case reducing its overall emissions by up to 25%. 

“However, given Irish Tar’s important role within supply chains, its decision to avail of indigenous biomethane positions them well with the contractors, local authorities and companies it provides products and services to, given the focus and pressures businesses now have on driving down emissions in all aspects of their work and operations.”

Structurally identical to natural gas, biomethane is a carbon neutral renewable gas that can be made from farm and food waste through a process known as anaerobic digestion.  Biomethane is fully compatible with the national gas network and existing appliances, technologies, and vehicles. It can seamlessly replace natural gas to reduce emissions in heating, industry, transport, and power generation, while also supporting the decarbonisation of the agri-food sector.

“We are proud to support industries such as Irish Tar as they transition to renewable gas, demonstrating the potential for large commercial energy users to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to Ireland’s renewable energy future,” Ms Doyle added.

JP Brennan, Managing Director of Irish Tar & Bitumen Suppliers said:

“As a supplier of high-quality bituminous products for the construction and maintenance of Ireland’s national and regional road infrastructure, we are committed to our energy efficiency strategy, to sustainability and to reducing our carbon footprint. Our storage and manufacturing processes require high heat and lots of energy. 

“Moving parts of our operations to natural gas has allowed us to make instant emissions savings and formal renewable gas certification builds on that. We view this as a significant milestone in our overall strategy to decarbonise our operations at our facility in Dublin Port.”

Gas Networks Ireland first introduced domestically produced biomethane into Ireland’s gas network in small volumes in 2019, via the country’s first renewable gas injection point in Cush and the company is currently preparing to build a second injection facility in Mitchelstown, Co Cork.

In January this year the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications co-published the Draft National Biomethane Strategy. The Government then sought feedback from industry stakeholders on what supports, and policy measures would help kick start the industry. Gas Networks Ireland welcomed the opportunity to provide a detailed response to the public consultation and looks forward to the publication of the final National Biomethane Strategy, which will be an important milestone in the decarbonisation of Ireland’s gas network in the transition to a net-zero energy system in Ireland by 2050.