Energy to burn
Domestic fuels has been one of the fastest-growing segments in household in recent years, reaching €30.4 million this year and growing at 11.5%
13 October 2008 | 0
At a glance: fuel
- The total ignition sector this year is valued at €30.4 million, and growing at 11.5%
- Bord Na Mona Fuels Ltd is Ireland’s largest supplier of solid fuel
- Bord Na Mona Firelogs are now the number one firelogs on the Irish market
- Market data indicates that over 70% of homes use an open fire
- Standard firelighters account for 50% of total ignition, and growing at 7.3%
- Wrapped firelighters make up 9% of total ignition and are growing ahead of the category at 12.7%
- Standard firelighters carry 59% of the total market in value terms, followed by convenience logs at 23% and bulk fuel/coal bag at 11% (MAT 9 Sept 08)
- BBQ fuels make up 6% of total ignitions in value terms (MAT 9 Sept 08)
- Zip is the world leader in developing and manufacturing firelighters
- Zip holds 39% of the block firelighter market (MAT 9 Sept 08)
- Flogas, the Drogheda-based LP Gas company, is one of Ireland’s largest suppliers of bottled gas, which it markets via a nationwide network of dealers
In the face of recent severe price increases in gas and electricity, combined with the reappearance of inclement weather once again this summer, the fuel category is likely to see even further growth this year. Market data indicates that over 70% of homes use an open fire, spelling good news for fireplace products, and particularly those that focus on ease of use, cleanliness and environmental friendliness.
In spite of the bad weather, outdoor pursuits have not been shunned, which has resulted in good growth for bottled gas. Patio heaters have become very popular amongst Irish consumers looking to get the most from their gardens regardless of the weather. The growth in this sector has also facilitated a steady business in the barbecue ignition category. The National BBQ Association reported that approx 1.75 million barbecue occasions were held throughout Ireland in 2007, representing an average of 3.9 barbecues per household, and an increase on the previous year despite the very high rainfall.
Cost effective and high-efficiency
In this time of rising fuel costs, economic uncertainty and major environmental challenges, many homes and businesses are choosing modern, high efficiency heating solutions over traditional heating systems. As the summer draws to a close, consumers are looking at alternative ways to minimise energy costs during the winter months, and rethinking how they heat their homes and businesses.
In response to this changing customer need, Calor Gas has developed innovative heating solutions for the domestic and business markets that are cost effective and kinder to the environment. Calor Gas produces significantly lower CO2 emissions than oil, coal, peat and electricity.
Championed by Calor Gas, spot heating provides instant heat when and where customers need it. With spot heating they don’t need to have the central heating system on all the time, which can waste heat in rooms not being used. This can help your customers save energy, reduce energy costs and help the environment at the same time. Calor Gas mobile heaters provide instant heat where and when it’s needed most. The mobile heater range combines top performance with style, mobility and cost effectiveness, and there is a wide range of models available to suit all budgets.
The Provence from Calor Gas is the stylish new addition to the spot heating market. Not only a superb mobile heater, the Provence also provides a perfect focal point for any room. It has been specifically designed to blend in with the ambience of any home and will bring a touch of style wherever it is placed. Developed in Ireland, the Provence is 100% portable, so there are no installation costs or associated works like the need for a flue chimney or socket. The Provence is cast in high quality steel and is fuelled by the famous yellow Calor Gas 11.34kg butane cylinder housed discretely within the body of the stove. This means excellent efficiency with a maximum heat output of 3kw. For safety, the Provence features a Safety Oxygen Depletion cut-off. This device cuts off the appliance if carbon dioxide levels in the room rise above a safe level, giving peace of mind to consumers.
Calor’s continuous development within new and existing markets puts the company at the forefront of the cylinder gas market and reinforces its commitment to supplying convenient, safe and quality products. All yellow Calor Gas cylinders are fitted with the ‘Calor Guard’, a unique tamper-evident seal. This is a guarantee of a quality Calor product and is an essential part of ensuring customer safety and peace of mind.
A cosy alternative to costly heating solutions
Now that the cost of filling an average household tank for domestic heating is over €1,000 for many homeowners, the hunt is on for cost-effective alternatives. The Superser heater range from Flogas Ireland is an instant, economic and portable way to spot-heat a room quickly without having to turn on the entire central heating system.
The range includes the popular and stylishly designed Flogas Superser Radiant heater and Flogas Superser Catalytic heater. In particular, the Superser Catalytic burns without a flame and has lower touch temperatures, making it safer. Both heater models are fitted with easy glide castors for trouble-free moving from room to room.
2007 was a very good year for Superser heater sales, according to the company, driven mostly by the rising costs of oil, natural gas and electricity. Furthermore, this year’s bad summer helped to maintain a steady demand for gas as many people still needed a heat boost in the unseasonable wet weather. Commenting on Superser sales, John Connolly of James Lyons HomeValue in Bantry said: “Superser heaters from Flogas continue to be extremely useful…as many customers find it far cheaper than turning on the central heating for an hour or two.” Feedback from a wide range of Flogas dealers highlighted that this trend covers both urban and rural areas.
In addition to heating, the demand for accessible and affordable gas in the leisure market has risen sharply, particularly for the use of barbeques and patio gas heaters in the summer months. Tim Lodge, owner of Arro Home and Garden in Athboy, said: “The smoking ban definitely extends the season for eating outdoors as smoking in many homes has ceased…We have also benefited from demand from pubs and hotels in Athboy who require gas for their outdoor areas.”
Commenting on 2008 trends, Flogas marketing executive Eoin O’Flynn said: “This year’s poor summer meant that demand for bottled gas for supersers remained steady, while patio gas sales were not as strong. However, we have been promised an Indian summer by the Met Office and if that prediction holds true, sales for patio gas will probably surge as everyone tries to make the most of any outdoor activity before the onset of winter.”
Flogas is one of Ireland’s largest suppliers of bottled gas which it markets via a nationwide network of dealers. A nationwide network of Flogas aftersales personnel are on 24-hour call for appliance repairs and maintenance. Flogas supports all its products, services and plans through innovative dealer promotions, point of sale, targeted advertising and public relations.
Environmentally friendly fuel
Bord Na Mona Fuels Ltd, Ireland’s largest supplier of solid fuel, leads the way in developing convenience products to the meet the demands of today’s lifestyles. This year, Bord Na Mona announced the launch of its Eco Friendly Fuels range, which includes Premium Wood Pellets, Bord Na Mona Wood Logs, Bord Na Mona Eco Friendly Firelighters, and Bord Na Mona Eco Friendly Real Logs, all made from natural renewable resources.
The company has invested in extensive marketing activities to support its products, with well-presented merchandising units for easy display in-store. As a result, it has experienced year on year growth, with its compact and easy to display, solid fuel products; Firepak, Firelogs and Firelighters.
Hugely popular, Bord Na Mona Firelogs are now the number one firelogs on the Irish market. More recently, the launch of Firepak has captured the convenience, real-fire market. A quick and innovative solution, consumers simply place Firepak in the fire grate and light the pack. Both products are now seen as essential for all retailers to stock, while Peat Briquettes offer an alternative, as they are also easy and quick to light.
Besides being one of the largest suppliers of ‘private label’ firelighters on the Irish Market, Bord Na Mona also manufactures and sells top quality Firelighters under the Bord Na Mona brand. This year sees the introduction of the Bord Na Mona individually wrapped firelighter made from Irish peat
A ‘better value’ firelighter for Ireland
Zip, the world leader in developing and manufacturing firelighters, is launching a new block firelighter into the Irish market this autumn. New Energy+ uses proprietary technology to deliver the renowned Zip quality in a smaller cube size and at a lower price point. Energy+ firelighters will be available to retailers from September in packs of 15, 30 and 48.
The new packs of Energy+ carry an on-pack promotion offering consumers the chance to collect tokens and send them, with a small contribution to cover postage and packing, to receive a ‘Warm Cuddles’ soft toy. The Warm Cuddles toys, with an RRP of €15, contain a removable bag of heatable wheat and are available in either monkey or pink rabbit characters, the perfect presents for kids. The promotion is running until January 2009 and is available on packs of Zip Original Blocks and Wrapped Firelighters, as well as Energy+ Blocks, supporting the new launch and encouraging repeat buying.
Simon Bullen, marketing director at Zip, comments: “We’re really excited about the new Energy+ firelighters which deliver 25% improved value. Zip products always offer a superior burn performance from superior energy content, burn time and flame height, suitable for all types of indoor and outdoor fires. Our proprietary formula, based on a technology developed by Zip, delivers a longer lasting cube, up to 50% longer than other firelighters, while controlling the flame and giving reliable results on every type of fire. We urge retailers in Ireland to stock up in anticipation of forthcoming consumer demand.”
To launch the new Energy+ firelighter, promotional stocks of packs of 60 will also be available for the cost of 48 packs (RRP: €3.79) for a limited period only. For sales enquiries contact Conor Brennan, F.A. Wyatt Sales and Distribution Ltd, 01 8606400.
First Irish biodiesel produced
Completed in June this year, Ireland’s first ever commercial scale biodiesel processing plant began production this August. The plant, which is located at Marshmeadows in New Ross, Co Wexford, and is operated by Green Biofuels Ireland Ltd (GBIL), has so far produced 1,600 metric tonnes of biodiesel. Operations officer at the facility, Joe Byrne says that the plant is currently operating at 80% capacity and should be fully functioning by November of this year. The plant has the capacity to produce 34 million litres (approx 8 million gallons) per year.
According to GBIL, the company was incorporated in 2004 “to capitalise on the growing demand for biodiesel in Ireland.” GBIL says its multi feedstock facility poses “an opportunity for rural communities to diversify into the growing of energy crops,” although for the moment it is operating mainly on yellow grease and tallow. Waste oils are cheaper than virgin oils and sidestep the contentious food versus fuel debate, explains Byrne. The raw materials will be sourced principally from the company’s shareholders, which include existing RVO (recycled vegetable oil) handlers, as well as the Wexford Farmer’s Co-op, which has 4,000 farmer shareholders.
Ireland is moving to a biofuel obligation, set down in the recent Bioenergy Action Plan from the Government’s Energy policy Framework 2007 – 2020, with a target of 5.75% market penetration by 2010 and 10% by 2020. GBIL says its New Ross plant will play a major role in meeting the demand requirements and its output will displace 140,000 tonnes of CO2, or the equivalent of removing almost 25,000 vehicles from the roads per annum.