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Munster TU to lead €1m project to help Irish bioeconomy go low carbon

Munster TU to lead €1m project to help Irish bioeconomy go low carbon

The TU will work with Teagasc, the Central Statistics Office and NUI Galway on the project which will use a prototype system to help monitor the bioeconomy’s carbon footprint.

Munster Technological University (MTU) is spearheading a €1m collaborative project aimed at developing a low carbon strategy for Ireland’s bioeconomy.

The Informbio project will develop a prototype national bioeconomy monitoring system that will enable Ireland to track the development and progress of the bioeconomy against key bioeconomy indicators. NUI Galway, Teagasc and the Central Statistics Office are also involved.

Carmen Girón Domínguez, Informbio project manager and researcher at MTU, said that the research developed through the project would “support preparations for a bioeconomy observatory for Ireland, providing a roadmap for Ireland towards [the] implementation of a sustainable bioeconomy, along with the tools to rigorously measure progress towards this objective.”

The project is being funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Its budget is €996,429.91 and it will run for four years until 2026.

It is one of 24 successful projects from 131 applications funded to a total of €20.1m under the department’s 2021 research call.

“Given the enormous potential of Ireland’s land and marine biological resources, the circular bioeconomy has emerged as one of the key opportunity areas to decarbonise primary sectors, and the economy as a whole, in a cost-competitive manner,” said James Gaffey, Informbio’s co-ordinator. He is also the co-director of the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group at Shannon ABC in MTU.

Gaffey said that the Informbio initiative would integrate bioresource and residue modelling, along with value-chain analysis, techno-economic assessment, life-cycle assessment and climate scenario modelling as part of a bid to “quantify and model the potential of a circular bioeconomy to contribute to Ireland’s climate and sustainability targets.”

David Styles, NUI Galway, will lead the life-cycle assessment of priority bio-based value chains to be co-developed with a group of stakeholders. Réamonn Fealy, Maeve Henchion and Jesko Zimmermann of Teagasc will lead the design of a prototype monitoring system to benchmark Ireland’s bioeconomy.

Fealy said that the agricultural research body would “employ new, web-based tools, built on a geospatial technology framework, to show the nature, extent, and locations” of resources relevant to effective bioeconomy monitoring.

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