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Tom Marren, chair of the non-profit organisation E Heat, believes the “only way” to reach climate goals in the dairy sector is through the use of industrial heat.

Marren also co-founded Astatine, a company based on renewable energy, with plans for advancements in the dairy sector.

He claims that heat pumps in the dairy industry can reduce the gas consumption on milk drying factories by 50% and the cheese factories by 100%.

He added that heat pumps can typically provide four times as much efficiency gains compared to a traditional heating system.

Despite the efficiency Marren claims these pumps will bring to the industry, he said he admits that the government’s plans of expansion in the area is “not feasible whatsoever”.

In 2021, according to Eurostat , only 6.8% of Ireland’s heat was generated by renewable energy.

As part of the Climate Action Plan 2021, the Irish government made plans to replace oil and solid fuel boilers with heat pumps which will be operated by renewable electricity sources such as solar PV panels.

Industrial heat

The government’s plan is to install 400,000 heat pumps and carry out 500,000 home energy upgrades by 2030.

Marren said that at the moment, Astatine installs about 60,000 heat pumps/year. To reach the government’s goal, then the company would have to install about 8,000/month.

“The supply chain isn’t there and there’s a lot of decisions you would have to get from people to allow that to happen,” Marren said.

The company has reached out to the government for “short- and medium-term support” to help reach climate targets.

“If we can go industry by industry, it will be easier to achieve goals,” Marren said.

Astatine is currently engaging in business with major milk processors in both the north and south of Ireland.

Marren said in its third year of business, Astatine typically sees a “two to three-year pay back on the installation”, therefore government support would only be temporary.

An installation grant is available to buyers from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for up to 30% investment in renewable heating systems using: Air source, ground source, and water source heat pumps.

Source : Agriland Aug 26th 2023

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