McCauley Wood Fuels:
A family business leading the Irish biomass market

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McCauley Wood Fuels is a family owned business and a leading biomass and wood fuel supplier in Ireland. Based in County Leitrim, an area known for having a high level of forest cover, the region they are in the heart of has significant suitability and potential in terms of biomass production. The business is operated by Kenny McCauley along with his father Brian; began in 2008 and with ongoing investment in production and equipment they have steadily grown the business.

The primary motivation for McCauley Wood Fuels is to displace Carbon intensive fuels such as oil, gas and peat. Using locally grown wood biomass, they provide a fuel source that allows both homeowners and businesses to move towards Carbon neutrality. Ireland is particularly well suited to biomass production, given the climate, soil types and existing agricultural industry.

Not only does wood biomass provide a Carbon neutral energy source, in most cases it is also very cost effective, particularly where there is a large and consistent heating demand. As a result, typical consumers of the wood biomass produced by McCauley Wood Fuels are industrial operations, farming enterprises (poultry, pig, and fruit/veg), as well as hotels and leisure centres.

A typical week at McCauley Wood Fuels sees the dispatch of enough wood chip to heat the equivalent of 4,500 households, or 36% of the households in County Leitrim – Displacing fossil fuels with carbon neutral, WFQA certified wood biomass for Renewable Heat.

Over the past three years, the McCauley’s have increased production to over 10,000 tonnes per annum – equating to roughly 400 truckloads and enough biomass to displace approximately 4 million litres of fossil fuel oil per year – all with wood grown in Leitrim and surrounding counties.

With plenty of ambition to increase output and displace an even greater amount of imported fossil fuels, the McCauley’s currently have capacity to process over 40,000 tonnes of biomass per annum. They are confident in their position to meet a growing demand for sustainable and locally produced biomass and wood fuels into the future.

All of the biomass fuel supplied by McCauley Wood Fuels is certified under the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) Scheme which is managed and administered by the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA). This ensures standardisation, quality and sustainability. The certification requires ongoing inhouse product testing, primarily focusing on biomass moisture content and particle sizing, which is monitored by independent auditing. The scheme also monitors material sourcing, chains of custody and stock management. The resulting WFQA certified wood fuel provides customers with confidence that the products meet the appropriate standards for quality, sustainability and traceability, in compliance with the EU Timber Regulation. 

The raw material used to produce the wood biomass in question comes in the form of pulpwood; logs typically cut 3.1m in length, of varying diameter, and not suitable for commercial sawmilling or timber production. While the vast majority of the logs produced from Irish forests are destined for sawmills to produce construction timber, pallet wood, fencing materials and many other products, there is inevitably a small percentage of pulpwood produced at a steady rate. Biomass supply chains consume this final assortment, providing a market and adding value for the forest grower.

Much of the forest material processed by McCauley Wood Fuels is sourced from farm forests managed by local forestry company Western Forestry Co-op. As a result, the majority of the material processed by McCauley Wood Fuels is sourced from private forest growers and farmers in the North-West region of Ireland.

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