Foreign biofuel defeating Bord na Móna sustainability plans

Campaigners believe process using palm oil byproducts may be raising carbon emissions

In 2009, three-quarters of all biomass burned at Edenderry was Irish. Two years ago, imports made up half of the biomass used. Photograph:    Niall Carson/PA Wire

In 2009, three-quarters of all biomass burned at Edenderry was Irish. Two years ago, imports made up half of the biomass used. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The oil palm tree grows in some of the world’s most biodiverse countries, the ones that feature in nature programmes such as David Attenborough’s Planet Earth, filled with images of luxuriant growth and rare creatures.

The tree’s high-yielding fruit produces two versatile and cheap oils – palm oil and palm kernel oil – used in foods, cosmetics and cleaning products. Both, too, help to fill growing demand in Europe for biofuels. In December, the United States department of agriculture estimated that global palm oil production for 2016/2017 would be 64.5 million metric tonnes.

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