Joe Mahon returns with Ulster Giants on UTV

Denver Wasson

UTV’s Ulster Giants, which celebrates Northern Ireland’s rich civil engineering heritage, is back! Presenter Joe Mahon makes a welcome return with the remaining three episodes in the series, starting again this Monday night 30th November.

The first five episodes of this popular series, which aired earlier in the summer of this year, were all filmed pre-COVID. The team had also filmed the feature on Full Circle Generation, in the upcoming episode, which airs Monday 30th, before lockdown restrictions were brought in. Filming was suspended in late March with Joe and the team being able to resume their travels under strict filming guidelines, and carry out all interviews, at a distance of course, in late June.

Throughout the whole series, Joe has travelled across Northern Ireland and with the help of the experts in their fields, he has revealed the stories behind some of Northern Ireland’s well-known landmarks, and also demonstrates how civil engineering is in operation all around us. And these remaining three episodes are sure to delight his loyal fans.

In this upcoming episode, Joe takes a look at modern day civil engineering and shines a light on aspects of everyday life that most of us take for granted. He visits the seaside town of Newcastle to see the various ways in which Phoenix Gas installs its network of pipes throughout the countryside and under the streets in order to deliver natural gas to the homes of the townsfolk. He also learns from Phoenix Gas engineer Denver Wasson on how natural gas suppliers are aiming for a greener planet by striving to introduce new ways of reducing the carbon emissions of the fuel they supply. 

Denver Wasson, Phoenix Natural Gas said, “Over the last two decades we have laid more than 3,750km of natural gas pipelines throughout our licence area, crossing river ways and motor ways making gas available to over 350,000 homes and businesses. 

“With a focus on delivering net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, work is well underway to provide lower carbon solutions that can be delivered through the natural gas infrastructure, giving consumers continued confidence that the network they connect to today will be the one that transports their fuel in the future.” 

In the second part of the programme, Joe talks a load of rubbish - literally! He follows the contents of household rubbish bins, and ends up at the Full Circle Generation plant in Belfast’s Harbour Estate.  Here he finds out why the days of landfill sites are numbered, and to discover how “Gasification” is used to convert our rubbish into a reliable source of energy to drive industry in Northern Ireland. 

Full Circle Generation Director and RiverRidge CEO Brett Ross talks Joe through the whole process, while touring the impressive facility.  Brett said of contributing to the series, “This was a great opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland’s only large–scale energy from waste facility and its use of gasification technology, which is an effective solution and a far better alternative to both the landfilling and export of waste. 

“The FCG facility is part of the RiverRidge Group’s overall set of waste treatment operations which collectively allow the company to manage and maximise recycling and energy recovery from a number of Northern Ireland’s local authorities. It uses fuel produced from household waste to create electricity which is then supplied to Spirit AeroSystems (previously Bombardier) and to the national grid. 

“This is an important part of Northern Ireland’s infrastructure, adding real value to the waste sector and showcasing how we can recover energy from waste effectively and keeping the green benefits within our own economy. We are literally creating a full circle where household waste is converted to electricity and then used to drive local industry. Thanks to Joe and his team for highlighting this aspect of engineering and the vital part it plays within the circular economy.”

Ulster Giants is produced by Westway Film Productions for UTV and is sponsored by ‘Mid & East Antrim – A Place Shaped by Sea & Stone.’  You can watch this episode on Monday 30th November at 8pm on UTV and on catch up on www.itv.com/utvprogrammes