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High Potential Technologies for Ireland’s Biobased Sector

AGRIFORVALOR’s Innovation Exploitation Seminar in Grange, Ireland

Published on 01-03-2017 11:26:51 by AGRIFORVALOR

CakePHP Almost 80 people participated in AGRIFORVALOR’s Innovation Exploitation Seminar titled “High Potential Technologies for Ireland’s Biobased Sector” in Teagasc Research Centre, Grange on Friday, February 17th.

Almost 80 people participated in AGRIFORVALOR’s Innovation Exploitation Seminar in Teagasc Research Centre, Grange on Friday, February 17th. The sold out event titled “High Potential Technologies for Ireland’s Biobased Sector” was the second innovation workshop focused on bringing biobased technology providers and researchers closer to primary biomass producers (farmers and foresters), industry and other potential partners.

Francesco Panzeri, director of Demetra Ltd., opened the event with an introduction to small-scale anaerobic digestion and a unique solution offered by Demetra’s ADBag. The patented system, suitable for on-farm use as well as in industrial settings, consists of a plasticised fabric bag which operates as a reaction tank in addition to a technical container housing control panel which facilitates recirculation and heat control of the feedstock. The system offers a reduction in carbon footprint and a 30% reduction in costs when compared with traditional concrete AD installations. Francesco discussed the successful piloting of this technology at a cheese farm in Tipperary, and the array of feedstsocks that can be processed including food waste, slurries, animal by-products etc. Francesco also introduced a concept of developing a network of farms which could introduce the small scale AD Bag solution, and just as co-operatives collect milk from farms, a biogas collector could be deployed to collect the surplus gas bringing it to the end user. As Francesco described it it is like “Milking the Cow Twice”.

Next Bart Bonsall, Managing Director of tcbb RESOURCE discussed concepts for revitalizing Ireland’s sugar beet industry through biorefinery. Bart began by outlining Ireland’s history in sugar beet production and the quotas which are due to end later this year. He discussed the various chemical intermediates which can be produced through fermentation of sucrose and the added value when compared to conventional sugar products. Bart focused on raw beet juice as a potential feedstock, as it is rich in nutrients which reduces the amount of costly yeast extract required for fermentation. He described various cases of commercial sugar beet biochemical production around Europe and various funding mechanisms which could be leveraged to develop a project in this area. Bart pointed to the Irish Pharma-chem market which currently imports €3.5Bn of organic raw materials as being a ready-made market for domestic production of biochemicals and proposed a demonstrator project involving Irish and EU partners which could be scaled up when optimized.

The final slot focused on the development of the Teagasc grass silage and slurry to biogas system at Grange. JJ Lenehan of Teagasc began by discussing the significance of grass as a resource for Ireland and its potential use in bioenergy production. He also discussed initiatives aimed at enhancing grass production and the impact that grass to gas could make to our national energy supply. JJ also covered the different obstacles that could be encountered in developing biogas plants in Ireland including; planning issues, gird connection issues and the absence of a replacement for the REFIT 3 scheme for renewable electricity production. John Toner, CEO of Williams Industrial Services (WIS), (Engineers of the Grange plant) then gave an insight into some of the technical and economic aspects of biogas plants – giving examples from a number of plants that WIS have developed in Northern Ireland.  John also discussed the future potential for Ireland giving examples of other biogas plants which are being commissioned including the Huntstown Project in Dublin as well as plants in Donegal and Cork.

During a lively workshop session, groups explored ideas put forward by the three speakers. Attendees joined their group of interest and potential collaboration opportunities were scoped. This productive session led to a number of areas of possible future collaboration through AgriForValor. Following lunch, the participants visited the Teagasc Biogas facility at Grange. At the plant JJ Lenehan and John Toner walked the audience through different aspects of the plant and process, fielding questions from the audience on energy production and intended use as well as challenges and process optimization.  Overall the event was another great success bringing primary biomass producers closer to the biobased industry, and creating the potential for future commercial and research opportunities.

Coming soon – AgriForValor “Design for the Bioeconomy” at Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin on April 12th – we look forward to seeing you there! See more at: www.designforthebioeconomy.eventbrite.ie

Presentations from February 17th 2017: