NUI Galway sign €10m deal to become major player in biofuel technology sector

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Daniel O Mahony, Director of NUI Galway s Technology Transfer Office, Donald Causton, President of Micromill Systems Inc., Frank Ryan, CEO Enterprise Ireland and Maura Glennon, Commercialisation Specialist, Enterprise Ireland. A deal worth Euro 10m was agreed between Micromills and NUI Galway creating a joint spin-out company called Eirzyme to produce high yields of low-cost biofuels.

A new company, Eirzyme Ltd., which has been founded on technology developed at the National University of Ireland, Galway and a €10m investment from Canadian company Micromill System Inc., is set to be a major player in the biofuels sector. Eirzyme has incorporated in Ireland and has set up initial R&D laboratories at the Enterprise Ireland funded bio-incubator facility at NUI Galway.

The new company will produce low-cost enzymes to convert biological materials such as brewers' grains into bioethanol and biogas. These renewable fuels produce environmental benefits by reducing overall emissions of greenhouse gases and are sustainable alternatives to petrol and diesel. The ultimate goal for Eirzyme is to set up a large scale enzyme production facility which will manufacture specific enzyme cocktails to work on a range of raw materials.

Dr Daniel O'Mahony, Director of Technology Transfer at NUI Galway said; "There has been considerable industrial interest in the patented technology developed by Dr Maria Tuohy and her research team at NUI Galway. The formation of Eirzyme is the first step towards unlocking the inherent commercial potential of their breakthroughs. Eirzyme will have global reach and we are confident that the company will make a valuable contribution to addressing future energy needs."

Dr O'Mahony added; "Without the funding support received from Enterprise Ireland and other funding agencies, this break-through technology would not have emerged. As a research-intensive organisation, NUI Galway has a strong commitment to supporting technology development leading to technology transfer and commercialization. In the past 12 months the University has executed 8 license agreements across different industry sectors and looks forward to executing a number of other licensing agreements on other technologies later this year."

Dr Paul Roben, Director of Lifesciences & Food Commercialisation at Enterprise Ireland said; "Through our Commercialisation Fund and our Commercialisation Specialists we have been working with NUI Galway to find a route to market for this excellent technology. We are very excited about the potential of this venture."

ENDS

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