Feb 23 2015 Posted: 11:03 GMT

Ireland’s national Technology Centre for Biorefining & Bioenergy (TCBB) at NUI Galway has joined Europe’s bioeconomy consortium. TCBB’s application has been approved by the board and general assembly of the Brussels-based Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) as an Associate Member. The BIC is the private partner in the €3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership on Bio-based Industries (BBI) with the European Union (EU) to convert biological residues and wastes into greener everyday products.

“International household names such as Coca Cola, Unilever and Total are amongst the major industrial players in the Bio-based Industries Consortium. Our membership of the BIC will create new opportunities to promote innovation and to compete for funding to develop Ireland’s bioeconomy. This marks a significant milestone in the development of the NUI Galway-hosted TCBB’s role in facilitating Ireland’s industries to engage and partner with EU-wide companies to recover resources and develop new food products, biomaterials and biochemicals from agricultural wastes, agri-food by-products and forestry and marine residues,” said Mr Bart Bonsall, Technology Leader and head of centre, TCBB.

“When you see that Ireland’s food and beverages exports have grown for five consecutive years (by 45% or €3.2 billion since 2009), with milk production set to increase with the imminent lifting of the EU quotas and that Ireland is planning to expand food and forestry production significantly up to the year 2020, it is important that as Ireland’s bioeconomy centre we are directly involved in this type of initiative. Add to the mix that Ireland’s pharma-chemicals industry is the 7th largest exporter globally and you get a picture of how for a small country, we can pursue big opportunities,” added Mr Bonsall.

NUI Galway’s Head of the School of Natural Sciences and Principal Investigator with the TCBB, Professor Vincent O’Flaherty commented that: “For the TCBB and NUI Galway as its main co-host, being part of the BIC will provide a new and high-value platform to promote and showcase the bioeconomy-related expertise in TCBB. It will create new opportunities to engage with industry and enterprise across the EU in developing and demonstrating innovative technologies and production systems to bolster Ireland’s exporting capacities.”

The BIC will play a key role in bridging the gap between innovation and deployment of biobased products across the European Union. The BIC aims to:

  • leverage Europe's advanced biobased research and technology
  • use renewable resources and innovative technologies for greener everyday products
  • develop underutilised potential of agriculture and forestry residues
  • replace oil-based chemicals and materials with biodegradable, biobased ones
  • diversify and grow farmers' incomes; and
  • generate new industries, revitalise others and create thousands of jobs.

ENDS

Marketing and Communications Office

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