Arigna Fuels is a family owned business based on the Roscommon / Leitrim border
Arigna Fuels is a family owned business based on the Roscommon/Leitrim border and has been ever present since the 1870’s through generations of the Layden family. Arigna Fuels was the first manufacturer of smokeless coal ovoids in Ireland and has continually expanded operations to a 24/7 basis. Its smokeless brands Ecobrite and Cosyglo are market leaders in the expanding market for cleaner solid fuels. The company has sold well in excess of 1million tonnes of manufactured fuels to date and currently employs 50 staff.
In response to the country’s sustainability goals and in anticipation of Arigna Fuels’ customer’s future needs to find suitable replacement for carbon based fuel, the company embarked on a multi-million euro investment and commenced work on a biomass based fuel in 2010 and construction of a pilot plant in 2012. The technology developed for the new plant is cutting-edge and has been developed by the Arigna team. The next stage of the biomass project has commenced and the company is now selling the product under the brand name Harvest Flame.
The team at Arigna have put a large focus on the energy efficiency of the process to ensure that all useful energy is recovered and available for use in the process itself. Our new biomass products are still usable in existing appliances and make the inevitable transition from carbon based fuels to a renewable fuel possible for all.
Harvest Flame is manufactured by manufacturing biochar. Biochar has a number of other uses, including soil remediation, carbon sequestration, organic fertiliser additive amongst others and is seen as a key weapon in fighting climate change. We are working with a number of partners to develop the biochar market. This is an exciting development for the Arigna Fuels team and one which we are looking forward to exploring more into the future.
See the Arigna Biofuels section for more.
Tonnes of Coal Manufactured
Hours studying Biomass
Arigna has played a small but significant part in Irish industrial history since the 15th century.
Of course coal mining and processing are the industries mostly associated with Arigna but in earlier times the area had significant iron mining and smelting. Since the closure of the mines in 1990, the wind farms developed on the old open cast mine sites have become a significant landmark for those travelling in the area. The first iron mines in Arigna were erected by Sir Charles Coote. It is probable that Cootes works were on the site of the present smokeless fuel plant in Arigna.
Sir Charles Coote
Coote who lived in Cootehall also had works at nearby Creevelea, Drumshanbo and Ballinamore. An interesting fact about Coote is that although at one time nearly 3000 men were working for him, none were Irish men. Instead he always hired to quote one author “all foreigners from England or Holland”. Irish men were not to be employed in case they learnt the secrets of the iron industry.
The O’Reilly Brothers
By this time the O’Reilly Brothers had started the Arigna Iron Works. These were on a very large in comparison to anything previously undertaken in the area and they soon found themselves in financial difficulties. They approached the then Irish Parliament for a grant of £10,000 to help develop the works. The Parliament set up an investigating Committee, but despite favourable reports no money was advanced. The O’Reilly Brothers then approached the famous Dublin Banking Company of La Touche. (the founders of the present day Bank of Ireland.) The bank lent them money on two occasions but the O’Reilly Brothers nevertheless went bankrupt in 1793.
The First Iron Railway in Ireland
In Weld’s “Statistical history of County Roscommon” the author tells of meeting Peter La Touche at his mansion Bellevue, near Delgany, and been shown some iron gates made in Arigna. La Touche commented “That gate Sir, cost me £80,000:for it is the only thing I ever got out of the Arigna Iron works, in return for all my money expended there”.
One of the more ambitious projects undertaken by the O Reilly’s was the construction of an underground canal 300 metres into the mountain. This canal driven under the coal measures, (5′ high and 4′ 9″ wide) was to be used to take away water and to allow coal to be taken by boat to the surface.
Peter La Touche himself tried to work the Iron works for a period but gave up about 1808. During this period what is believed to have been the first iron railway in Ireland was operated between two levels at the ironworks over a distance of 250 metres.
The Layden Family
Several generations of the Layden family run Arigna Fuels and are a well established family business within the fuel industry in Ireland.
The Spion Kop Windfarm was commissioned in 1998.
It was supported by the Thermie programme, a programme operated by the European Commission to support the demonstration of innovative energy technology.This wind farm is located on Corry mountain, on the Leitrim Roscommon border, on a plateau 400m above sea level. It is located in the site of the old opencast mine, and so continuing the energy production from the Arigna valley.
The wind farm consists of 2 x 600 kw Vestas turbines, from which the power output is supplied to the plant. If this output is insufficient, the extra electricity needed is purchased from the E.S.B. The inverse is also true, in that if there is excess electricity generated by the turbines, it is sold on to the E.S.B.
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