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Irish Bioeconomy Developments

An overview from the Bioeconomy Industry Association

Published on 24-05-2017 06:07:29 by AGRIFORVALOR

CakePHP This article presents a short summary about the background and developments of the Irish bioeconomy developments.

Background

The lead/zinc mine in Lisheen, Thurles, Co. Tipperary which began production in 1999 ceased mining in November 2015 having exhausted all commercial parts of the ore body.  The mine had successfully operated for 16 years and in 2013 a task force was established to examine alternative options and uses for the 455-hectare property post closure.  The task force was chaired by former Progressive Democrat Minister, Ms. Liz O’Donnell and comprised a cross section of representatives from the public and private sectors.

Model Demonstrator Region

Tipperary County Council, in conjunction with the Southern and Eastern Regional Authorities made an application to the European Commission for designation as a Model Demonstrator Region for the Production of Sustainable Chemicals.  Twenty-eight regions within the EU applied for the designation and Lisheen was one of the six successful regions.  The six Model Demonstrator regions are Scotland (UK), Andalucia (Spain), Wallonia (Belgium), Groningen (Holland), Kosice (Slovakia) and Lisheen representing Ireland.  The application had the support of a number of businesses from the Agri/Food sector and involved processes that will extract residual value from agri and food waste streams. Additionally, there are opportunities to use some of the outputs from one process as an input to other processes, demonstrating a circular economy in the use of valuable resources.

Irish Bioeconomy Association

The Irish Bioeconomy Association was established in mid 2016 as a vehicle to bring together relevant stakeholders with an interest in establishing a National Bioeconomy Hub at Lisheen.  The hub will be the location of choice for both indigenous and FDI companies to establish businesses in the bioeconomy sector.  All the relevant infrastructure is in place in Lisheen for the establishment of a number of businesses and the Association is represented in the third and fourth level sectors by Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), University College Dublin (UCD) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD).  Current members from the private industrial sector include Bord Na Móna (principal interest in Biomass), Glanbia and co-operative Mushroom Producers (CMP) who lodged a planning application in April for the construction of a compost production facility in phase 1 of the project and leading on to an integrated mushroom, packing and R&D facility in future phases of the project.  It is a very exciting development for Lisheen in that the first tangible project has taken a step towards a facility being built in Lisheen that will lead over the three phases of the project to the creation of over 60 jobs.

 

Anthony Fitzgerald, Tipperary County Council, Bioeconomy Industry Association