IRELAND'S renewable energy resources are to be boosted by a €50m bio-diesel plant capable of producing 250,000 tonnes of fuel each year.
The plant, which is proposed by alternative energy firm, Bioverda, has been earmarked for a site at Ringskiddy in Cork harbour.
The proposed plant is one of a series of high-tech bio-diesel facilities being developed throughout the EU.
They are aimed at slowly reducing Europe's reliance on oil-based fuels and can produce 'green' fuels from a range of crops and vegetable oils.
Formal planning permission for the high-tech plant will be sought this autumn and, if granted, will see the plant process vegetable oil into high-grade bio-diesel for both the Irish and EU markets.
At peak production, the facility will be able to manufacture close to 250,000 tonnes of bio-diesel and will employ 35 staff.
Bioverda is proposing the development in conjunction with the O'Flynn family, the owners of South Coast Transport, a North Cork-based haulage firm.
If planning is granted for the plant, the developers hope to be able to begin construction work next year.
The plant is earmarked to be operational by 2010.
The project was unveiled after Greencore ruled out the development of a major bio-diesel plant at their former Irish Sugar plant in Mallow,Co Cork.
Studies indicated that, without Government support levies, it would not be commercially viable to use the Mallow plant to process sugar beet for bio-fuels.