Working for a sustainable future in Northern Ireland
Climate change is happening, so whether you’re a farmer, business owner or a concerned citizen we can all play our part. The need to move away from fossil fuels and reducing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is widely accepted. Only then can we avoid the worst that a much warmer climate will bring. The Bryden Centre is shaping how this energy transition will affect people, industry and our farming communities.
All life is carbon based
The natural world provides food, fibres for clothes and wood for paper and construction – all sustainable and carbon based. Much of the economy is also dependent on carbon: plastics, pharmaceuticals, lubricants, steel production and bitumen for roads are just a few examples. Removing dependency on fossil fuels will stop CO2 emissions from heating, power generation and vehicles that only add and don’t subtract CO2 from the atmosphere. However, we will need biogenic carbon, captured from the air by the natural world, to replace fossil fuel carbon used by industry and in the products we buy.
A welcome transition to renewable energy is gathering momentum. Not only will this reduce CO2 emissions but also give us cleaner air, better health and the potential for the cheapest ever electricity prices. Bryden Centre research is leading the way in the energy transition. Not only will our work improve renewable energy generation on land and in the sea, it will also ensure we don’t damage our precious environment in the transition.
High productivity on farms produces substantial levels of waste, disposal of this waste is a problem and can cause major environmental challenges. However, conversion of this waste to energy and biogenic chemical feedstocks offers valuable economic opportunities for farmers and rural economies while preventing harm to the environment. By supporting Northern Irish farmers Bryden Centre can cost-effectively:
- Deliver almost three times the biomethane compared to common anaerobic digester systems
- Produce valuable biogenic chemical feedstocks including capturing ‘green’ ammonia
- Prevent nitrate pollution of land and rivers
- Convert digestate to energy or other commercial products
While many options are technically feasible, they are unrealistic on a cost basis. Bryden Centre work focuses on practical solutions, achieving environmental sustainability through commercially viable technologies and creating pathways to address some of the difficult social issues such as fuel poverty and energy supply to remote rural communities. Many opportunities for traditional energy related companies to benefit from the energy transition are also evident as use of existing infrastructure for transmission and supply is essential for speed of implementation and minimising costs.