Bord na Móna - Source Issue 10 - (Page 16)
AT The CoAl
SmokeleSS coal iS now an integral part of Bord na móna’S Solid fuel portfolio. that’S in keeping with our SuStainaBility agenda and regulationS
Michael Ahern in the Foynes coal depot
n 1990, the government banned the marketing, sale and distribution of Bituminous coal (Smoky coal) and high sulphur coal in dublin. the ban opened up huge opportunities for Bord na móna to develop new smokeless products for these emerging smokeless zones. Bord na móna became the market leader in solid fuel when it took over coal distributors (cdl) and Sutton’s and successfully merged these with its own portfolio of peat products. there is universal agreement that the introduction of smokeless products has prevented and reduced the harmful effects on health and the environment. recent research indicates that the ban in dublin resulted in 350 fewer deaths annually. “the regulations around smokeless coal are contained in the air pollution act 1987 (and amendments)” said tony phelan, depot manager in the coal yard at foynes, co. limerick. “they include the ban on marketing, sale and distribution of smoky coal along with requirements to label smokeless coal and sell it in sealed bags. the maximum sulphur content on smokeless coals is set at two per cent. the regulations also restrict the storage and transport of smoky coal inside the smokeless zones”, said tony.
all the main cities – dublin, cork, limerick, galway, kilkenny and waterford - are now smokeless zones as well as 14 towns, including dundalk, clonmel, ennis and tralee. Solid fuel players have had to come up with an attractive range of smokeless fuels. peat briquettes, a low-smoke fuel, qualified under the regulations and this permitted Bord na móna to expand the sale of briquettes together with its range of Black diamond Smokeless products. the Black diamond range includes low-sulphur pet cokes and brown coals (lignite). the range also includes manufactured smokeless ovoids. the combustion laboratory in newbridge is central to testing and developing new smokeless products. the smokeless coal space is constantly under analysis, with the minister for the environment, community & local government phil hogan td recently calling for a review on the regulations of Smoky coal. “the review will look at ways of improving enforcements by way of very heavy penalties,” said tony. “Sulphur levels in non-smokeless zones are also to be reviewed. there are proposals to register all bagging operators and fuel suppliers with the environmental protection agency.” interestingly, solid fuel importers in northern
ireland are not subject to low sulphur regulations and can import high sulphur coals which are less expensive. these cheaper coals very often end up in the south of ireland and can actually lead to employment and tax revenue losses.
The Kerry man
michael ahern bags most of the smokeless coal in the foynes coal depot. a kerry man, he has worked in foynes since 2000. “the coal comes in by boat then cranes move it from the ship to lorries and they bring it to the yard,” said michael. “it’s tipped out and loading shovels load it onto what we call ‘hoppers’. then the coal is moved along a big conveyor belt and about 35 tonnes of coal are tipped into bins.” the coal, from two shakers, is then tipped into 40kg bags, which are moved by conveyor belt to the palletiser. there, 40 bags per pallet are stacked and then moved into the yard where the lorries take them onwards for sale by distributors or general stores. “my job is to hang the bags – we could go through 4,000 bags in a busy day,” said michael. with the busy season lasting from September to march and michael working a five-day week, that’s a lot of bags!
16 | Source Summer 2012
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bord na Móna - Source Issue 10
Bord na Móna - Source Issue 10
A round-up of news from around the company
Looking Ahead with Confidence
From Waste to Compost
At the Coal Face
Annual Report Results
A Dog's Life
Updates on important developments and projects
A nationwide spotlight on special occasions, events and achievements across the company
Bord na Móna - Source Issue 10