AgriChemWhey builds first-of-a-kind dairy biorefinery

The company aims to tackle the dairy waste issue by building the biorefinery. (Image source: Iva Balk/Pixabay)

With an aim to tackle the dairy waste issues, AgriChemWhey is building a never-before industrial-scale biorefinery in the South East region of Ireland, which will have the capacity to valorise more than 25,000 tonnes per annum, of excess Whey Permeate (WP) and De-lactosed Whey Permeate (DLP)

WP and DLP are major by-products of dairy processing and represent a major challenge for the dairy industry due to a lack of reliability in current disposal routes and represent a sustainability bottleneck for the expansion of milk production in Europe in the post-milk-quota era.

The project is expected to establish a new value chain for industrial symbiosis with other local actors and create several added value products for the global market including lactic acid, polylactic acid, minerals for human nutrition and bio-based fertilisers.

Representing the first major industrial venture to convert residues from food processing, the Flagship plant in Ireland will scale-up a unique fermentation processes of WP/DLP-to-lactic acid by reducing the fermentation time to a 12-hour process, optimise the upstream processes of DLP and WP and optimise the downstream steps for simplified novel LA purification to industrial scale.

In a bid to enhance the circular bio-economy through agriculture and agri-food waste, AgriChemWhey will also develop a blueprint of an economic sustainability concept so that other EU regions can replicate the plan.