Hub Ireland Submits Operational Groups to EIP-Agri 2017 Call

Submission of three innovation partnership Operational Groups

Published on 03-01-2018 15:20:21 by AGRIFORVALOR

CakePHP The Ireland AgriForValor Hub initiated the submission of three innovation partnership Operational Groups for funding under national EIP Agri rural development funds.

The applications were submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine in advance of the Oct 31st 2017 deadline.

Two applications on “small-scale” farmer-led biorefinery initiatives were co-ordinated and submitted by Institute of Technology, Tralee. The first of these was based around a green biorefinery concept. Green biorefineries process grass and leafy materials (e.g. potato and beet leaves) which are rich in protein. Grass makes up 90% of Ireland’s agricultural land, and with 60% of Ireland’s use for agriculture, Ireland is the only country in the EU with over 50% total grassland. The grass biorefinery operational group is based on a technology prototype processing fresh grass supplied by dairy farmers into a coagulated protein juice which can be supplied as non-GMO feed for chickens and pigs, and a fibre fraction which can be used as cattle feed or used to produce biobased products like composites and packaging. With over 30% of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions arising from the Agricultural sector, this biorefinery offers a protein optimization mechanism to address the oversupply of protein in grass, reducing resulting ammonia emissions, while at the same time offering new revenue streams including feed and biobased products. The application was coordinated and submitted by the Institute of Technology, Tralee. Participants in the application included dairy farmers, research institutes, technology providers, as well as biobased product and feed specialists.

photo: Grassa B.V.

The second application coordinated and submitted by the Institute of Technology, Tralee related to a small-scale decentralized sugar biorefinery concept. In October 2017, for the first time in over 10 years, Irish farmers have been permitted to re-enter the EU sugar beet market. In 2006 quotas introduced to control beet production levels locked Irish beet growers out of the market. Some of the barriers to re-entry include the scale of plants necessary for production, and the high associated costs. To address this, the concept submitted by ITT, would potentially allow farmers to re-enter the beet market using smaller scale technologies with lower CAPEX, and low emissions (reduced energy inputs per tonne of beet produced). The concept also looks at improving beet production practices, adding value to the beet process by producing high value co-products and future products (e.g. ingredients for biochemical sector) in addition to food grade sugar, as well as low volume, high value derivatives. Participants in the application include beet growers, technology providers, research institutes and a food authority.

The third application, coordinated by Teagasc Forestry Development unit and Waterford Institute of Technology, aims to test the viability of a Biomass Trade Centre, in the Limerick region as a way to add value and create markets for local wood residues, forestry thinning, miscanthus and agri -residues through a co-operative approach with suppliers and operators in the region coming together to make it a viable and replicable business .The lead applicant for the project is a  local Community Development Group .The project  also includes  forest owners cooperatives and a range of biomass technology specialists. Starting from virgin fibre and other  residues the project will test a range of added value products such as quality assured woodchip, biomass briquettes, bio-coal production (through torrefaction) as well as non-combustion products ( poultry and cattle  bedding).The project ,if successful ,has the potential to substantially improve rural employment while decarbonising the local rural economy in three ways: displacing fossil fuels imports, reducing long haulage requirements for low value raw materials and by enabling  the continued development of Ireland young forest resource as carbon sink ,by facilitating much needed local markets for thinnings.