An Irish dairy plant has begun work on a €5.5 million (£4.6m) biomass project.
The plant at Ballaghadereen in the west of Ireland processes milk from 1,000 dairy farmers.
The new biomass project will supply 15MW of steam power to the plant using woodchip from forests in the west and north west of Ireland.
It will be able to hold 15 tonnes of woodchip at a time and will burn through 30,000 tonnes per year.
Aurivo – the company that owns the dairy plant – said each year the project will displace the use of almost five million litres of heavy fuel oil.
The biomass plant should be operational by April 2014 and will eventually be converted to Combined Heat and Power. Aurivo said it hopes to start exporting power to Ireland’s national grid by 2016.
Aurivo’s Chief Executive, Aaron Forde said: “As a major food exporter, sustainable systems must be at the core of all stages in the production and manufacturing chain.”
He added: “As well as cutting carbon emissions, it will also result in energy savings.”