The country's first low-carbon biofuel terminal has opened at Cork Harbour at a former molasses storage facility.
The €30m redevelopment in Ringaskiddy will see Green Biofuels (GBF) import, export and distribute hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) for use as an alternative to diesel.
Produced from waste biomass feedstocks, vegetable oils and animal fats, Gd+ HVO is biodegradable, renewable and can be used without any modification to diesel engines.
The company said it also reduces tailpipe emissions by up to 85% and production is certified to EU sustainability standards.
GBF said the waste that goes into making the fuel is sourced within a framework called the "Renewable Energy Directive" which ensures that no virgin crops, lands specifically used to grow the crops, are used to make it.
The HVO will be imported from refineries in Holland, Finland and Asia and stored on-site in tanks with a 54 million litre capacity to supply sustainable biofuel to a wide range of industries such as construction, haulage, freight, shipping and agriculture nationwide.
GBF also plans to export used cooking oils from Ireland to be refined abroad and returned as HVO for distribution here and overseas, as well as providing biofuel bunkering (fueling) options for large vessels.
The UK company purchased the six-acre site last year and is expecting its third shipment of the biofuel by the end of this month.
The company has also agreed with the Port of Cork company the use of a dedicated jetty with a 259m berth that will be used to pump HVO biofuel directly to and from vessels.
CEO at GBF William Tebbit said the facility was an ideal energy hub with excellent access and infrastructure which will allow them to supply customers all over Ireland and the UK.
He said: "Our mission is to ensure the transition to net zero is practical, cost-effective and successful."
Mr Tebbit said clean, advanced HVOs are not a replacement for pure renewable alternatives, "instead they can help to reduce emissions immediately while new long-term solutions are rolled out and adopted alongside", he said.
GBF's Chief Operations Officer Magnus Hammick said that while the site had not been used for many years, the tanks used to store molasses preserved the tanks.
Mr Hammick said: "They were in a really good state. Minimal amount of repair work was needed for the actual tanks and storage was good. The 600m fuel line to the jetty was a really important element of being able to import the type of volumes we were going to be importing, all intact, all just needed testing.
"The site was built 52 years ago. The only thing we had to do really was some modifications to the pipework and the concrete bund wall.
"Over 10,000 tonnes of concrete have had to go into the project to make the bund high enough to be compliant with current regulations and to put safe access and egress into the site."
The Port of Cork, which recently published an ambitious 30-year plan for the harbour, welcomed the establishment of the facility in the port and said from its perspective "having the facility on our doorstep gives us 24/7 access to sustainable energy".
Chief Commercial Officer at the Port of Cork Conor Mowlds said they would be using the fuel to power their cranes and vessels in the future.
Mr Mowlds added: "Our engineers are already engaged with Green Biofuels to ascertain where HVO can be used in our cranes, plant and machinery into the future as we move towards achieving net zero."