Carbery’s Farm Zero C unveiled as key site in new EU-funded green biorefinery project 

14 May 2024 Carbery Group has been unveiled as one of the key participants in a pioneering €8.7m million decentralised green biorefinery demonstration initiative being led by Munster Technological University (MTU).  

 The “Rural BioReFarmeries” project is funded under the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU) and will advance the development of farm-centred bioeconomy approaches through the use of green biorefineries in grassland regions of Europe.  

 Enda Buckley, Director of Sustainability at Carbery Group welcomed the announcement saying: “We are delighted to be part of this initiative through our flagship project Farm Zero C – which is creating a model for climate-neutral dairy farming. Both initiatives are seeking to create sustainable futures for Irish and European farmers, using scientific advances. A key focus of the Rural BioReFarmeries project is providing farmers with a circular bioeconomy business model that also helps to address many of the sustainability challenges they face. In this sense, the project addresses many issues such as feedstock sustainability, sustainable protein alternatives, displacement of fossil-based products, and circular use of process residues.” 

Green biorefinery and anaerobic digestion sites in Ireland and Denmark will convert locally sourced biomass (renewable organic material that comes from plants and animals) into products such as protein, bio-based packaging, flavours, antimicrobials, fertilisers, and energy. This project will employ a decentralised approach, through biorefining on farms and processing locally, with further development at central sites. 

Jason Hawkins, CEO of Carbery Group also said: “We are proud to be a chosen partner of the Rural BioReFarmeries initiative, which showcases real and viable solutions for environmental sustainability and economic viability for our farmers.  

He added: “Irish farmers are progressive and forward-thinking, constantly looking at new innovations to diversify business models and improve farm sustainability. We are looking forward to working with our Irish and Danish partners on this project to provide our farmer stakeholders with innovative solutions to address the climate-related challenges they face now and in the future.”  

Carbery farmers at a grass bio-refining demonstration in 2019

Project coordinator James Gaffey, co-director, CircBio, MTU, said that emerging grass-based value chains represent a major strategic opportunity for the EU bioeconomy. James has been involved with Farm Zero C since its inception and biorefining is a major pillar of the project, with a small scale biorefinery and AD plant due to be added to the project in 2024.

The Rural Biorefarmeries project aims to partner with primary producers, including the dairy and pig sectors, and will link these farms to industries like food, nutrition, and packaging to create new business models and value chains for rural European regions. 

There are 19 partners from 8 countries involved in the project including: Munster Technological University, Aarhus University, Carbery Group, University College Dublin, Kilpatrick Innovation (Trading as NuaFund), Carbon Harvesters, Barryroe Cooperative, Farm B, Wageningen University, Carhue Piggeries, SEGES Innovation, PaperFoam BV, Alganed BV, Poznan University of Technology, Agricultural University of Plovdiv, Sapienza University of Rome, MTU Australo Alpha Lab, University of Galway and Trinity College Dublin. 

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