Research Report 437

Research 437: PHENOGRASS – The Phenology of Perennial Ryegrass and its Potential Contribution to Grassland Carbon Sequestration

Authors: Jonathan Yearsley, Rainer Melzer and Carl Frisk, September 2023

Year: 2023

Agricultural grasslands are a crucial part of Ireland’s agroeconomy. Within these grasslands, perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is the dominant species and underpins much of their performance, of which the timing of growth (i.e., the phenology of grasslands) is an important aspect. A late start or an early end to the growing season requires grazing livestock to be housed for longer, which in turn requires farmers to have additional reserves of forage. Reserves depend on the length of the grass growing season. Seasons with exceptionally late starts and those with poor forage harvests have been major contributory factors to past fodder crises, with broad consequences for the economy, animal welfare and human well-being.

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Research 436: Assessing Potential for North Atlantic Integrated Atmospheric Research

Liz Coleman and Frank McGovern, August 2023

Year: 2023

The impact of human activity since the Industrial Revolution has altered the environment, pushing its stability to critical limits, with real implications for societal, economic and environmental systems. The planetary boundaries framework has provided a powerful tool for communicating the individual and collective threats arising from unsustainable post-industrial development, yet actions and responses take place at regional, national and local levels.

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Research 435: Industrial Water 4.0 – A Framework for Catchment-based Digitally Integrated Industrial Water Stewardship

Authors: Colm Gaskin, Ken Stockil, Thomas Track, William Horan, Andres Lucht and Paul Conheady, July 2023

Year: 2023

Industrial activity is intrinsically linked to the accessibility and availability of water. The increasing global demand for industrial water poses a significant risk management challenge for organisations aiming to decouple the growth of production capacity from unsustainable consumption. This report presents a framework for industrial water users to adopt Industrial Water 4.0.

Science-2-Policy Seminar Reflections Paper

EPA Environmental Science to Policy Seminar 2022 - Seminar Reflections Paper

Year: 2023

The EPA organised an inaugural Environmental Science to Policy Seminar in October 2022. Its objective was to explore how best to improve the delivery of evidence and knowledge to the policymaking system. The event brought together policymakers, knowledge transfer practitioners and scientists from across government and academia to share experiences on the issues, constraints, good practices and ways forward. This Seminar Reflections Paper captures the key themes and recommendations that emerged during the seminar, to support and inform the national Science to Policy agenda.

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Research 434: Persistent Organic Chemicals in the Irish Waste Stream

Authors: Stuart Harrad, Martin Sharkey, D.aniel Drage, William Stubbings, Marie Coggins and Harald Berresheim, June 2023

Year: 2023

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Research 433: Sense and Purify (SPy): Detect, Destroy and Remove Water Contaminants

Authors: Robert J. Forster, June 2023

Year: 2023

Many wastewater streams, such as those from the pharmaceutical and food industries or from municipal wastewater, for example, contain pollutants. The SPy project developed the eco-innovative ‘Sense and Purify’ (SPy) technology, which has significant advantages over traditional treatment processes, including low operations costs, significantly lower energy consumption, higher conversion efficiency, better effluent water quality and lower waste production.

Photograph image 2023

EPA Researchers Awards 2023 Photograph Winner

Pollen over Dublin City: Urban Exposure , May 2023

Year: 2023

Ireland has one of the highest incidents rates of asthma in the world with 80% of Irish asthmatics also possessing pollen allergies. Therefore, airborne pollen represents and immediate respiratory risk to the Irish public, especially for those in urban areas. The Irish monitoring network has only very recently commenced tracking the airborne pollen. Previously only broad inaccurate forecasts made in the UK were available. This entry represents the hard work that has gone into establishing a pollen monitoring network. The image was taken atop the Met Éireann facility, showing a pollen catkin against the city back-drop, with O’Connell tower seen piercing the sky. The image was taken on the day the first pollen sampler was installed there. Since then, we have continued to monitor pollen in Dublin and at several other sites with the hopes of continuing and improving the network and sharing results with those that need it.

Infographic image 2023

EPA Researchers Awards 2023 Infographic Winner

CATAPULT Survey Infographics, May 2023

Year: 2023

Details of a unique survey questioning 15 – 18 year olds in Galway city and Galway county schools on their experiences of climate change and the climate crisis. Survey undertaken not only in Ireland but in three other European countries, UK, Finland and Italy also with nearly 2000 young people aged between 15 – 18 years of age participating. One of the outcomes of this online survey was generation of baseline data set for Focus Groups, Interviews and Narrative Workshops. Another outcome of the survey to inform stakeholders and policy makers, and facilitate in the production of a Climate Change Education Toolkit and resources for both formal and informal educational settings.

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Research 432: Valorisation Alternatives to Landfill for Organic Residues

Authors: Jessica Graça, Brian Murphy and Brian Kelleher, May 2023

Year: 2023

The EPA’s latest data (November 2022) show that municipal waste generation increased by over 440,000 tonnes in the last 5 years, and now amounts to 3.2 million tonnes. The VALOR study looked at how the resource value of the mechanically separated organic fraction of municipal solid waste (MS-OFMSW) can be maximised. The study also characterised the organic fractions of municipal solid waste (MSW).

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Research 431: Production of Advanced Gaseous Biomethane Transport Fuel in an Integrated Circular Bioenergy System

Authors: Xihui Kang, Richen Lin, Benteng Wu, Alan Dobson and Jerry D. Murphy, April 2023

Year: 2023

Transport is by far the largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions in Ireland. This highlights the need for a rapid transition from a linear fossil fuel-based economy to a bio-based economy that treats waste as a commodity, reduces GHG emissions, sequesters carbon and produces biofuels, biofertilisers, and bioproducts. The aim of the Advanced Gaseous Biomethane project was to develop an integrated system that produces biomethane using biomass to fuel the transport sector cleanly and support Ireland in achieving key emissions targets.

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Research 430: Sources, Pathways and Environmental Fate of Microplastics

Authors: Roisin Nash, John O’Sullivan, Sinead Murphy, Michael Bruen, Anne Marie Mahon, Heather Lally, Linda Heerey, James O’Connor, Xiaodi Wang, Albert Koelmans and Ian O’Connor, March 2023

Year: 2023

As plastic production continues to increase, we are seeing significant quantities of microplastics (MPs), a contaminant of emerging concern, being recorded worldwide. This research project has identified key challenges and recommendations that target MP pollution, highlighting immediate measures that could manage MP debris at known sources. This will inform the development and implementation of policies such as the Water Framework Directive.

EPA Research 2030Action plan 2023

2023 EPA Research 2030 Action Plan

Authors: EPA, March 2023

Year: 2023

This Action Plan 2023 provides a guide for the planned activities of the EPA Research Programme in 2023.