How Can Renewable Energy Reduce Methane Emissions from the IrishDairy Herd to Safeguard Future Production?

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Brennan, Aodhan
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Ireland must reduceits methane emissions by 30% from Agriculture by 2030.The purpose of this Thesis is to explore how Renewable Energy can reduce Methane Emissions from the Dairy Herd to safeguard future production.This is in line with legislation derived from the Paris Agreement and COP 26 and further supported by indigenous policy.Methane is one of the most significant Green House Gases derived from the Dairy industry in Ireland. It is a colourless and odourless gas with a significant global warming potential surviving in the atmosphere for up to twelve and a half years. In the absence of sufficient remedial action, a national cull and loss of production will present the only means of meeting these targets currently at an increase of 3.8%. The link between Renewable Energy sources and reduced methane emissions provides a means to help reach national emission targets whilst maintaining ongoing production with additional benefits to the economy. Anaerobic Digestion, in the conversion of biodegradablebiomass to biogas observed benefits to reduce methane production by 85% when stored as Digestate. Feasibility of construction is also observed in herds comprising of over 100 cows typical of an Irish Herd scenario, particularly where external investment is attained in the productionof energy. Pyrolysis, the decomposition of waste material facilitates the reduction in Methane through the beneficial production of biochar. Biochar is observed to reduce methane through its addition to stockpiled manure facilitating a reduction of 79%, its potential as physical barrier as a Biocover and Fertiliser as a saving of chemical fertiliser. Farmers, the primary producers, who are central to the implementation of remedial strategies portray a willingness to partake in sustainable practices and associate such practices as that of a good farmer. Further guidance, education and financial incentive is required to ensure ongoing participation.