With an aim to tackle dairy waste issues, the EU-funded project, Agri Chem Whey plans to valorise over 25,000 tonnes per annum, of excess Whey Permeate and De-lactosed Whey Permeate at its first-of-a-kind bio-refinery.
Ireland – Whey Permeate (WP) and De-lactosed Whey Permeate (DLP) are major by-products of dairy processing and represent a key challenge for the dairy industry due to a lack of reliability in current disposal routes. It also represents a sustainability bottleneck for the expansion of milk production in Europe in the post-milk-quota era (withdrawn in 2015).
Agri Chem Whey is an EU-funded project that is seeking to tackle the dairy waste issue by building a never-before industrial-scale bio refinery in the South East region of Ireland, that will have the capacity to valorise over 25,000 tonnes (100 per cent dry matter) per annum, of excess WP and DLP.
The project will 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. It will also optimise the upstream processes of DLP and WP as well as 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, Agri Chem Whey will also develop a blueprint of an economic sustainability concept so that other EU regions can replicate the plan.