Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD and Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications Ossian Smyth TD have congratulated Atlantic Technological University (ATU) on its new innovative biomass heat centre following Government funding of €1.9 million.

Biomass fuel is a renewable energy that comes from organic feedstocks, including wood from forestry bi-products, poultry litter from chicken farms and straw from tillage.

ATU’s Letterkenny campus was awarded funding from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications to build the heat centre which is now providing renewable energy to 80 per cent of the main building at its Business Incubation Centre (BIC).

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Speaking in Letterkenny Minister Harris said:

We have set ambitious targets for improving energy efficiency across our college and university campuses. ATU has proven with its application for this biomass heat centre that there is a culture of innovation here, and I’m delighted to see their plans have now come to fruition with the delivery of this forward-thinking project.

The university is known for engaging in pioneering projects that deliver tangible results and this project is a milestone in the journey we must all make to reduce our energy use.

Projects like this one will go a long way towards driving down our greenhouse gas emissions so we can contribute to our national climate objective of being a competitive, low-carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050.

The BIC building biomass heating centre at ATU Donegal was successful under round two of funding of the Energy Efficiency Decarbonisation Pathfinder Programme for Higher Education. The programme is administered through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Higher Education Authority (HEA).

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Minister of State Ossian Smyth said:

SEAI and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science have been doing fantastic work under Pathfinder.

I’m delighted to see another university benefitting.

The programme, which has been running since 2017, means far more than reducing energy bills and carbon emissions.

I’d highly recommend watching this excellent video in which other third level and higher educational institutions outline what it has meant for them.

Dr Orla Flynn, President of ATU, thanked Minister Simon Harris TD for his support in making universities greener.

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Dr Flynn said:

Today marks a milestone in our journey towards a more sustainable future.

The Biomass Centre is a testament to ATU’s dedication to environmental stewardship and innovation in energy efficiency.

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Ciarán McCaffrey, Head of Capital Programmes in the HEA added:

An aim of our Energy Efficiency and Decarbonisation Pathfinder Programme is to support the Higher Education sector in achieving their climate action targets while also expanding our body of knowledge in relation to renewable technologies, energy efficiency improvements and carbon reduction measures.

This programme is also focused on demonstrating different retrofit pathways, building scale and capability within the sector.

We therefore welcome the completion of ATU’s biomass heat centre which was funded via the HEA, and which will see tangible benefits for ATU and the wider sector, both through the reduction of carbon emissions but also through the data collected from this project.

 

Opening of €1.9 million biomass heat centre fuelling ATU building with renewable energy 1
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Minister Rabbitte welcomed the announcement and said:

It is just wonderful to hear the words pioneering and milestones being reached by Atlantic Technological University (ATU) under the admirable stewardship of President of ATU, Dr Orla Flynn.  Reaching milestones in a project is a moment of significant achievement, marking the successful completion of specific phases or tasks.

These milestones serve as tangible indicators of progress, allowing project teams to assess their performance and track advancements toward overarching goals.

and she continued:

Milestones also enhance team motivation and morale by offering a sense of accomplishment, reinforcing a positive work environment.

Moreover, they provide opportunities for risk assessment and problem-solving, enabling teams to address challenges promptly and make necessary adjustments.

Milestones not only celebrate achievements but also contribute to the overall success of a project by promoting transparency, collaboration, and sustained momentum towards project completion.

Bualadh bos croíléiseach Atlantic Technological University!

 

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