Renewable Energy

THE VULCAN PROJECT

 

The Vulcan Project is a partnership between Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) and Danone, the multi-national food producing company, which aims to establish and resource five large producer groups in the southeast region to develop both the supply of biomass and the consumers of the product. LEADER provided 50% of funding for the project. The rest was provided by the Danone Ecosystem Fund.

KLP had been working on the biomass development issue for a while with the idea of ensuring that all parties in the developing supply chain get financial value from the arrangement. KLP was delighted to partner with Danone, who had learnt of the ‘value chain’ concept and wanted to support the expansion of it to a regional basis.

The Vulcan Project was created to address the challenge faced by small forestry owners of how to earn an income from their timber plantations in the period between the planting grant running out and the trees being ready to harvest. It facilitates them to sell the thinnings and prunings of the maturing forest to produce wood fuel products, such as chips, pellets and blocks. The co-operative operates across Counties Kilkenny, Laois, Tipperary, Wexford and Wicklow.

DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

‘Production groups’ of companies of 80 to 100 forestry growers will be formed in each county. Each will supply a proportion of its wood chip at an agreed price. By the end of 2015, there will be a robust, integrated set of ‘value chains’ that will be able to thrive in the open market.

ECONOMIC BENEFITS

The project will support at least 400 farmer families, increasing their revenue with specific emphasis on those associated with ‘Farm Assist’. It targets the creation of 65 full time jobs by December 2015. The Producer groups will be self-financing within 3 years.

LONG TERM GOALS

By the end of 2015, the Vulcan Project aims to have strong countywide membership, a significant cohort of small farmers benefiting, significant increase in forestry thinnings being moved into the bioenergy market and an increase in bioenergy consumption within industry.