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AgriChemWhey

An integrated biorefinery for the conversion of dairy side streams to high value bio-based chemicals

Project details

Type of project
Innovation Action – Flagship
Project focus
Bio-based chemicals
Feedstock origin
Agri-food
Feedstock type
Food industry sidestreams
Project period
1 January 2018 - 30 April 2027
Status
In progress
CBE JU Contribution
€ 22 007 931,38
Call identifier
H2020-BBI-JTI-2016

Summary

The European dairy industry, as a by-product of whey protein manufacture, produces substances known as whey permeate and – following extraction of lactose - delactosed whey permeate. These dairy-processing sidestreams lack effective, reliable disposal routes. From a sustainability perspective, this presents a challenge, particularly in the light of the EU’s ‘post milk quota era’.

The AgriChemWhey project proposes to convert these sidestreams into added-value products – specifically L-Lactic acid, polylactic acid, minerals for human nutrition and bio-based fertiliser - for growing global markets. In the process, it will develop a blueprint for an economic sustainability model that can be replicated throughout Europe.

The main objective of the AgriChemWhey is to develop the world’s first integrated biorefinery for converting food-processing residues to bio-based chemicals. It will see a dedicated plant developed in Ireland. The project will see a new value chain for lactic acid from dairy production residues. Specifically, the project will:

  • Demonstrate the ability to use innovative biorefinery technology to convert food-processing residues to food, feed and polymer grade LA at industrial scale.
  • Optimise the technology by reducing production times and increasing yields, thus simplifying the process and making it more energy efficient.
  • Establish industrial symbiosis to valorise side streams using with local partners - particularly of gypsum, calcium phosphate and fermentation residue – for agriculture and human nutrition.
  • Develop and rollout exploitation strategies that will ensure commercialisation and wider uptake of the biorefinery technology.

The AgriChemWhey project aims for the following impacts :

  • Developing rural communities by creating local jobs. Replicating AgriChemWhey biorefineries has the potential to create over 1,000 rural jobs within four years of project completion.
  • Securing the future for dairy farming by making milk production more sustainable and increase the amount that farmers can earn from their outputs and protecting them against price volatility
  • Regional development, by replicating one to five similar AgriChemWhey-style biorefineries attracting from private investments up to 325 MEUR.
  • Improving the EU trade balance through greater resource efficiency and by reducing current EU L-lactic acid imports (currently 80,000 tonnes per annum) and ultimately turning Europe into a net exporter.
  • Encourage industrial symbiosis that inspires the creation of new value chains.
  • Provide inspiration through the success of the project, encouraging society and industry to embrace the growth and competitiveness of a European circular bioeconomy.
  • CreateCO2 savings in a range from 18,000 - 89,000 tonnes CO2eq/year, depending on the number of AgriChemWhey-style biorefineries.

AgriChemWhey explanatory video

Converting dairy by-products into high value bio-based chemicals
19 March 2018
11 partners from 5 member states (manufacturers, technical specialists, councils and educational institutions) are working together to valorise excess by-products from the dairy industry to value added products such as lactic acid, polylactic acid, minerals for human nutrition and bio-based fertilisers. Read more

Consortium map

Project coordination

  • TIRLÁN LIMITED KILKENNY, Ireland

Consortium

  • PNO CONSULTANTS LIMITED Cheadle Hulme, United Kingdom
  • POLE GREENWIN Gosselies, Belgium
  • UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, DUBLIN Dublin, Ireland
  • THE PROVOST, FELLOWS, FOUNDATION SCHOLARS & THE OTHER MEMBERS OF BOARD, OF THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY & UNDIVIDED TRINITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NEAR DUBLIN DUBLIN 2, Ireland
  • GIG KARASEK GMBH Gloggnitz, Austria
  • TIPPERARY COUNTY COUNCIL Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
  • TEAGASC - AGRICULTURE AND FOOD DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY Carlow, Ireland
  • EW BIOTECH GMBH Leuna, Germany
  • COMMERCIAL MUSHROOM PRODUCERS CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD Monaghan, Ireland
  • KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN Leuven, Belgium
  • PNO INNOVATION Zaventem, Belgium
Former member
  • GALACTIC SA Escanaffles, Belgium