Speakers 2020


Alberto Ghidoni – Sales Manager – Turboden S.p.A

Alberto Ghidoni is Sales Manager of Turboden focused on Steam & Power application with ORC system.

Alberto Ghidoni supports potential customers in developing CHP distributed energy systems and energy efficiency projects based on ORC technology, finding optimized solutions for each project.

He has been working in the cogeneration field since 2008.

He holds a degree in Management Engineering.


Barry Cowen – TD

Barry has been appointed to numerous positions including, but not limited to, Frontbench Spokesperson on Environment and Local Government in July 2012 and Frontbench Spokesperson on Social Protection in March 2011. He was a member of Offaly County Council between 1991 and 2011 and acted as Chairman of Offaly County Council from 2000 to 2001. Barry was also Chairperson of Offaly VEC between 2002 and 2003. Other positions include being a former member of the Offaly Enterprise Board, a member of the Board of Management of Ard Scoil Chiráin, Clara along with being a member of the GAA.


Billy Costello B Agr Sc. – Managing Director – Green Generation Ltd.

Billy Costello is the Managing Director of Green Generation Limited which is an Irish company set up to develop a farm-based Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facility, Ireland’s first biomethane gas to grid plant in Kildare. It is located in a rural location in Nurney, County Kildare adjacent to a connected pig farm. The principals in Green Generation have vast experience in the operation of ADs as they currently successfully manage 2 efficient AD plants in Germany and the UK. The Nurney plant will be operational in March 2015. The plant will use as feedstock local pig manure in addition to food waste for which the company has contracts and has a Food Waste Collection Permit. The biogas produced in the Anaerobic Digestion process is used as fuel in a Combined Heat & Power (CHP) unit. The output of the CHP is green, renewable electricity which will be sold into the National Grid and heat which will be used in both the AD plant and the adjacent pig farm. The processed digestate which is the leftover from the AD process is used locally on farmland as a high quality eco fertiliser.


Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir – Director – SFI MaREI Research Centre and UCC

Prof. Ó Gallachóir is the Director of the SFI MaREI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine. He is also Professor of Energy Engineering in UCC, and as Director of the BE (Energy), ME (Energy) and MEngSc (Sustainable Energy). His research focuses on energy modelling to inform energy and climate change mitigation policy. Brian is elected Chair of the Executive Committee of IEA’s Technology Collaboration Programme on energy systems modelling (IEA-ETSAP). Brian’s research has been published extensively and has directly informed policy decisions. He is a member of the national Gas Innovation Group, has a B.Sc. from TCD and a PhD from UCC.


Des O’Toole – President – IrBEA

Des O’Toole is a renewable energy expert and Coillte’s senior market development manager.
As President of IrBEA, Des has a passion for bioenergyand is considered a “thought leader” in the sector.

Having worked for over 25 years in the construction, engineering and renewable energy sectors, Des has a proven B2B track record and clear commercial focus in a variety of roles ranging from technical and business development to operational and sales & marketing roles.

Des also manages the commercial operations and logistics activities of Coillte’s biomass supply hubs.


Donal Hayes – Managing Director – The Tipperary Cheese Company

A dairy farmer from Thurles, Donal started off in business with a milk round supplying local families, shops and hotels in Kilkenny, Tipperary and Laois. Just after milk quotas were introduced in the 80’s he had sold his milk round to Avonmore. With the excess milk Donal could no longer sell to the creamery he began to manufacture a soft cheese. Since then, Donal along with his brother have grown the portfolio of Tipperary Cheese to over 30 varieties of soft cheeses and yogurts with markets in the UK, Europe and parts of Asia. All products are made using milk from their own herd of cows, local supplies and all produced on site.


Donna Gartland – CEO of the Irish District Energy Association & Senior Energy Planner at Codema

Donna Gartland is CEO of the Irish District Energy Association and Senior Energy Planner at Codema – Dublin’s Energy Agency, responsible for Energy Planning and Policy. She is technical, financial & policy lead on the Tallaght District Heating Scheme, working on behalf of South Dublin County Council and part of the Dublin Docklands District Heating project team working with Dublin City Council. Donna is also project managing the Dublin Region Energy Masterplan and Transition Roadmap, working with the 4 Dublin Local Authorities and other stakeholders across Dublin.

Donna is also a PhD researcher in UCC’s Energy Policy and Modelling Group.


Eugene Hendrick – Forest policy and analysis – WFQA

A graduate of UCD, Dr. Eugene Hendrick worked as a forester and as a researcher with the Forest Service and in marketing and other roles with Coillte before being appointed Director of COFORD in 1999.

Eugene is now a Senior Inspector with The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.


Garrett Monaghan -Partner, Finance & Projects – Pinsent Masons (Ireland)

Garrett specialises in the development, acquisition and funding of energy and infrastructure assets with particular expertise in on-shore wind, biomass, waste-to-energy, solar and battery storage.  Garrett has advised on in excess of €2.5bn financing of Irish renewable energy projects including €600m within the biomass, biogas and waste to energy sectors.



James Cogan – Industry & Policy Analyst – Ethanol Europe

James is an industry and policy analyst with expertise in EU climate, innovation and economic development policy. He is currently working to support the introduction of climate friendly E10 in Ireland.  He is a member of the Private Sector Mechanism of the UN Committee on Food Security.

He represented the world Climate Ethanol Alliance as partner to the UNFCCC at COP24 in Katowice in 2018.  He has worked for the European Commission and its partners on innovation finance and innovation project development.

He advises Ethanol Europe on innovation, biofuels policy and the bioeconomy, and is engaged in the policy processes for implementing Europe’s new Renewable Energy Directive. Ethanol Europe is based in Dublin and is Europe’s most active bioeconomy investor. James has a degree in electronics engineering from UCD and an MBA from TCD.


James Flahavan – Manager –  Flahavan’s

Bio to Follow


John Bingham – Senior Advisor –  Hawkins Wright Ltd, UK.

John is an economist with over 30 years’ experience as an analyst and consultant in the natural resource industries, initially in agricultural markets and subsequently in fertilizers, metals, chemicals, pulp and paper and most recently in bioenergy markets. He joined Hawkins Wright in 1994.

He has been responsible for developing the firm’s bioenergy practice and in his role as Senior Advisor he has undertaken consultancy assignments for individual clients in more than thirty countries and continues to do so, leading on due diligence, advisory and other (private-client) consultancy projects.


Dr. John MacNamara – Head of Regulatory Affairs – Bord na Móna

Head of Regulatory Affairs at Bord na Móna ensuring compliance with statutory obligations and regulatory consents.

John is company secretary for the Electricity Association of Ireland.  In addition, he is a member of the Brussels based Eurelectric ‘s Markets & Investments Committee.

John has previously worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a senior scientist as well as in the private environmental sector; he holds a PhD in Combustion Chemistry, a diploma in Finance and an LLB in Irish Law.


Kenny McCauley – Director – McCauley Wood Fuels Ltd.

Kenny McCauley started a wood fuel supply business with his father Brian on their family farm in Co. Leitrim in 2007. Initially producing firewood for the domestic solid fuel market, they quickly progressed into supplying wood chip and have since developed the operation to supply large volumes of wood chip for commercial and industrial biomass heating across the country.

Kenny sees biomass as the crossover between his interests in rural development, agriculture, forest products and engineering; an interest that is employed in both his family business and full-time occupation as an engineer with a Dublin-based engineering firm working on international biomass projects.

Kenny is an active supporter of the biomass and forest industry. He is a member of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland, a member of Irish BioEnergy Association (IrBEA) and sits on the oversight committee for the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance scheme.


Laura Burke – Director General – Environmental Protection Agency

Laura Burke is the Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), appointed in 2011 and served as a Director within the EPA since 2004.  Laura is the Chair of the European Environment Agency (EEA) Management.  Prior to joining the EPA, she worked in the private sector.  Laura is a graduate chemical engineer of University College Dublin (UCD), holds an MSc from Trinity College, Dublin, is a Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering and is a Chartered Director.  In 2016 Laura was awarded the UCD Engineering Graduates Association (EGA) Distinguished Graduate Award.


Nick Cotter – Co-Director – Cotter Bros Firewood

Nick Cotter set up Cotter Bros Firewood with his brother Jack in 2011. They achieved Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) certification in 2013 which they have maintained every year since. Cotter Bros Firewood has achieved a number of firsts including the first to prove firewood could be air-dried to under 20% moisture content and then to produce this firewood on a commercial scale. The brothers invented the term Kiln Dried StandardTM Firewood to correctly describe this firewood that is air-dried to the same standard as kiln dried firewood.

Nick sits on the Oversight Committee of WFQA working to improve firewood quality nationally and to provide information to other producers on best practice in the industry. Nick received recognition for the Cotter Brother’s entrepreneurial successes from UCC, being awarded a Quercus Innovation/Entrepreneurship Scholarship in 2019.

Other entrepreneurial successes for Nick and his brother Jack include Cotter Organic Lamb which won an Irish Quality Food Award in 2019 and The Cotter Crate, which was named as one of seven agri-tech and food start-ups revolutionising the world of farming by Silicon Republic. They won ‘Best Agri-Engineering Start-up’ and ‘Best Overall Start-up’ at the 2019 Enterprise Ireland Innovation Awards and also won the Engineers Ireland Innovative Student Engineer of The Year Award in 2019.

Nick continues to expand Cotter Bros Firewood with his brother Jack and is helping develop policy to grow the firewood market nationally through Government regulation and support with ideas such as a domestic SSRH (d-SSRH). Nick continues to market and promote Cotter Organic Lamb and is working to launch ‘The Cotter Crate’ in 2020 along with meeting his own high standards in his studies at UCC.


Noel Gavigan – Project Executive – WFQA

Noel Gavigan is a Project Manager with the Irish BioEnergy Association. He manages a number of IrBEA projects including the WFQA and the EIP Farm Biogas Project. Mr Gavigan holds a Bachelors Degree in Agricultural Science from University College Dublin, a Graduate Diploma in Management Practice from Dublin Institute of Technology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Protection from Sligo Institute of Technology. He has over 10 years experience in the Agricultural & Horticultural industry and 14 years experience in renewable energy and the bioeconomy.


Ray Langton – SSRH Program Manager – Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)

Ray had a long and successful career in industry initially in pharmaceuticals and later in brewing with Diageo Ireland.

In 2016 & 2017 he worked on the new Central Bank of Ireland headquarters and joined SEAI in 2017 to manage the development of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat.



Seán Finan  – CEO – IrBEA

Seán Finan is the Chief Executive Officer with IrBEA, he is a Chartered Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Hons) Degree from National University of Ireland, Galway. Prior to joining IrBEA, he has over 12 years engineering and management experience with John Sisk & Son (Holding) Ltd and took a two-year secondment from Sisk (2015 – 2017) to complete the full-time elected role as 35th National President of Macra na Feirme – the young farmers’ representative organisation. Currently a Vice-President of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) he also farms part-time. Over the years he has held various positions within many community, voluntary, representative and statutory organisations at a local, national and European level. Seán is looking forward to leading IrBEA and its members for a sustainable future in bioenergy and to strategically position bioenergy to play a key role in Ireland’s Sustainability Renewable Energy Roadmap into the future.


Thomas Duffy – President – Macra na Feirme

Currently is serving a two-year term as President of Macra na Feirme from May 2019 along with a partnership on a dairy farm in Cavan alongside both parents. With a BSc in Sustainable Agriculture along with a MSc in Environmental Resource Management Thomas worked both on farm and as an independent agri-environmental advisor from 2014 to 2019.

As President of Macra na Feirme, Thomas represents the views of young farmers and rural young people throughout Ireland. A focus for Macra na Feirme is pushing for more sustainable policy around encouraging young people to live and work in rural Ireland both in farming and outside. Climate change is one of the key areas of concern for Thomas both during his studies and now in his role as President. Finding solutions to the unique challenges of the agri-food sector to climate change mitigation is extremely important for Macra na Feirme.


Tom Egan – Head of Powergen & Bioenergy Operations at Bord na Móna

Tom Egan is a member of Bord na Móna’s senior management team with specific responsibility for Powergen Operations and Bioenergy. He also sits on the Board of a number of subsidiary companies including its Distributed Generation JV partner Electricity Exchange Ltd. Tom has over 25 years’ experience in the global electricity sector in senior management positions with Bord na Móna, EOn and GE. Before joining Bord na Móna, Tom was a member of Eon management team which managed a portfolio of CHP Plants in the UK and Ireland.  Prior to that he spent worked for GE Power Systems, based in Schnectady, New York, as a Project Manager delivering large scale capital projects internationally in North America, Middle East, Africa and Asia.


Tom Marren

Bio to Follow