Gurteen College in north Co. Tipperary and the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) have teamed up to provide a new bioenergy training course to farmers.

The course will begin this Friday (January 20) running as a collaboration between the college and IrBEA.

The training course will be funded through the Just Transition Fund for the midlands region.

Commenting on the new offering from Gurteen College, its principal Jon Parry said: “This is pivotal time for farming and climate action, and we are delighted to partner with IrBEA to bring in its bioenergy technical knowledge and market development expertise for the delivery of this course.”

The course delivery will involve a mix of lectures, demonstrations and site visits. Topics covered will include bioenergy; energy crops and solid biomass; gaseous bioenergy; biogas and biomethane; costs and budgeting; liquid biofuels; and biomass supply chains.

The training course will run for one day a week for six weeks, with the possibility of some additional modules emerging from the discussions and learnings on the course.

A team from IrBEA and Gurteen College will jointly deliver the course. It will be provided on a funded scholarship-type basis.

On-site attendance and participation at Gurteen College is required, where meals will be provided.

For farmers, there will be a particular focus on knowledge transfer in relation to sustainable energy crop production and anaerobic digestion.

Seán Finan commented that the course would be of interest to farmers regardless of their previous level of knowledge on bioenergy.

“Sustainability, energy and new income opportunities are very much at the core of discussions both about farming generally and among farmers themselves,” Finan said.

“The [new course] offers the whole spectrum of farmers an opportunity to learn about sustainable bioenergy.”

Only a small number of places are available on the course, so farmers who are interested and who can commit to the full duration of the course are urged to get in touch with Gurteen College.

Places will be filled on a first come, first served basis, with a waiting list operating after that.

Pádraic Ó hUiginn, IrBEA’s coordinator for the course, commented: “It will be interesting to hear the insights and questions that the students themselves will bring to the bioenergy training course, with the discussions within the modules being a key part of the course’s learning approach.”