Bantry Bay green energy facility to be one of largest of type in world

Plant has potential to reduce Irish carbon emissions by 2.4 million tonnes per year

Zenith Energy managing director Ellen Ruhotas and EI-H2 founder Pearse Flynn. Photograph: Michael O’Sullivan/OSM

Zenith Energy managing director Ellen Ruhotas and EI-H2 founder Pearse Flynn. Photograph: Michael O’Sullivan/OSM

 

Zenith Energy and EI-H2 have announced plans for a joint venture to develop a 3.2-gigawatt (GW) energy facility at Bantry Bay to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia.

A year-long feasibility study will explore the project’s potential prior to planning permission being sought for the facility – it is expected to come on stream in 2028.

It has the potential to reduce Irish carbon emissions by 2.4 million tonnes per year, the equivalent of the carbon emissions of a quarter of Irish homes, according to the developers.

It will operate alongside Zenith Energy’s existing Bantry Bay storage terminal on Whiddy Island, and will be one of the largest of its kind in the world with potential for major exports.

Bantry Bay was chosen given its proximity to offshore locations for wind-generated electricity which will be used to generate the fuels. Green hydrogen and ammonia are set to replace fossil fuels in coming decades, especially in transport – the former is also predicted to facilitate energy storage at scale.

The first phase of the project will see construction of a scalable green hydrogen production facility, up to 2.7 GW in capacity. The second phase involves a 500-megawatt green ammonia facility, using the green hydrogen from the first phase.

Zenith Energy managing director Ellen Ruhotas said the partnership “is an excellent opportunity for our Bantry operations, for the local community and for Ireland as a country”.

“This new joint venture will see Zenith Energy take a pioneering role in the development of a new green energy industry for Ireland. Critically, our green hydrogen and green ammonia production plans align with Government and EU policy for meeting the region’s 2050 climate action goals,” she added.

Green revolution

Pearse Flynn, the Cork-based founder of EI-H2, said: “Ireland is on the cusp of a genuine green revolution. Instead of waiting for someone else to decarbonise our country, we are looking to develop domestic ways of making a real difference. With a renewable source of offshore wind and water, we can produce real fuel alternatives to help industry and commercial customers reduce their carbon footprint.”

The expertise of Zenith Energy and their existing facility at Bantry Bay made for an ideal partnership, while the project was of the scale required to develop a new renewables industry, he said.

EI-H2 recently announced plans for Ireland’s first green hydrogen facility in Aghada, Co Cork, while the ESB has also unveiled plans to establish a green hydrogen facility at its Moneypoint site in the Shannon estuary.