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Scale-Up Technology

Funding gained to turn former mine into Irish bio-economy innovation and piloting facility.

Architectural impression of the proposed new facility (Pic courtesy of  Irish Bioeconomy Foundation)4.6 million to support the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation to develop a newbioeconomy innovation and piloting facilityat Lisheen, Co. Tipperary has been announced by Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation ( @HHumphreysFG). The facility will aim to enable industry, entrepreneurs and researchers to scale technologies that convert Irelands natural resources to products of high value for use in a wide variety of sectors including food ingredients, feed ingredients, pharmaceuticals, natural chemicals and biodegradable plastics. And is one of 21 regional projects to receive funding through the first round of Enterprise Irelands new 60 million competitive Regional Enterprise Development Fund.

The bio-economy innovation and piloting facility is a Stream 1, or major change project, and will receive 4.6 million in funding towards capital and current costs. It will be run by the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation set up in 2016 by Tipperary County Council, Commercial Mushroom Producers, Glanbia, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, and Limerick Institute of Technology to promote the conversion of Irelands natural land and sea resources to high value products for the development of a globally competitive sustainable bio-economy.

In 2013 a taskforce, fully supported by Tipperary County Council, was established to seek alternative uses of the Lisheen mine site which finally closed in November 2015. One of the outputs of this taskforce, currently chaired by Alan Buckley, a former general manager at the mine, was the establishment of the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation.

The taskforce, together with Professor Kevin OConnor ( @Kevinoconnorucd ) a leading green technologies research and innovator at UCDs School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and the UCD Earth Institute and Director of BEACON, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Bioeconomy Research Centre, recommended redevelopment of the Lisheen site as a National Bioeconomy Campus with the aim of creating significant employment opportunities presented by the bioeconomy.

The taskforce, together with Professor Kevin OConnor, a leading green technologies research and innovator at UCDs School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and the UCD Earth Institute and Director of BEACON, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Bioeconomy Research Centre, recommended redevelopment of the Lisheen site as a National Bioeconomy Campus with the aim of creating significant employment opportunities presented by the bioeconomy.

Professor OConnor is currently shaping the European Bioeconomy Strategy through his chairmanship of the Scientific Committee for the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBIJU), a 4 billion European public-private partnership.

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Speaking about the funding for the Bioeconomy Innovation and Piloting Facility, Professor OConnor, said, The announcement by Minister Humphreys of funding to establish the National Bioeconomy Innovation and Pilot facility is a huge step forward for Irelands ambitions to be a world leader in the sustainable use of our natural resources and rural redevelopment through innovation.

This investment complements that made by the Irish government through SFI in BEACON Bioeconomy research centre led by UCD. We are very excited and look forward to bringing projects from BEACON on to the next stage of development at Lisheen.

The announcement will support the development of a bio-economy facility within the existing administration building at Lisheen with a further addition of 8,000 sq.ft. of space for pilot processing facilities.

The facility aims to be the location of choice for companies to scale up their technologies and produce prototype products for market testing in a location with state of the art infrastructure which is home to one of the largest wind farms in the country operated by Brookfield Energy.


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