Dairy waste finds new life as useful chemicals and plastics

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In Ireland, a project dedicated to finding value-added uses for dairy waste has received €22 million ($26.6 million) in funding from the European Commission’s Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU).

The project’s members, including leader Glanbia, will contribute another €8 million. The scope of the work includes a biorefinery at Lisheen, Co Tipperary to produce biobased products,  including biodegradable plastics. Specifically, the work will convert dairy waste whey permeate and delactosed whey permeate to lactic acid.

“AgriChemWhey is a highly innovative research project which, if successful, will serve as a flagship for Europe’s growing bio-economy, contributing towards a more resource efficient European dairy sector, with enormous potential for replication in other areas across Europe, while also providing a boost to jobs and growth in Europe’s rural economy,” Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan tells Agriland.

In addition to Glanbia Ireland, AgriChemWhey participants include University College Dublin; AMBER, School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin; Commercial Mushroom Producers Cooperative Society Ltd (CMP), Ireland; PNO Consultants Limited, UK; GIG Karasek GmbH, Austria; Tipperary County Council, Ireland; Teagasc; Pole Greenwin, Belgium; Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; EW Biotech GmbH, Germany.