New Circular Economy Project Announcement

To Transform Urban Waste into Sustainable Products in the South-West 

The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have awarded funding to kickstart a first of a kind waste-to-value project ‘CircBioCityWaste’ led by Munster Technological University that will advance the Circular Economy in the South-West region. 

Tralee, Kerry – Munster Technological University has joined forces with the University of Limerick, Technological University Dublin, clean technology company BHSL and the Circular Bioeconomy Cluster South-West on a first-of-a-kind project to transform urban biological wastes such as municipal sludge, dairy processing sludge and black bin waste into sustainable bio-based fertilizers and biochemicals for agriculture, food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors. 

The CircBioCityWaste collaborators include leading researchers and companies who are taking an integrated biorefinery approach by using thermal conversion processes to create value out of the waste products by transforming them into a clean source of energy and converting the residual by products into bio-based products focusing on plant growth, soil health, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. This process contributes to “closing the loop” of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, and brings benefits for both the environment and the economy. 

Headquartered in Kantoher, Co Limerick, waste to energy company BHSL Group will provide its expertise in the conversion of biowaste into energy to the project. The project will examine the impact of BHSL’s technology converting urban waste that might otherwise end up in landfill into heat for energy production, with the ‘ash’ byproduct for use as an effective agricultural fertilizer. 

This project aligns with the EU Action Plan for a Circular Economy, Ireland’s Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, Ireland’s National Policy Statement on Bioeconomy, the recent Whole of Government Strategy on the Circular Economy and the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021. 

The project kick-off is in Spring 2022 and project dissemination and knowledge sharing activities will be planned over the course of four years for public and private sector stakeholder audiences to advance the circular economy in the region. 

Bríd McElligott Vice-President Research, Development and External Engagement, Munster Technological University said:  

‘At Munster Technological University we help Irish companies to generate value from waste and by-products. Leading researchers and managers based at Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre, CircBio Research Group and Circular Bioeconomy Cluster South-West, support government, SMEs and industry to identify opportunities and convene projects to transform biological materials, waste and by-products into a value-add low carbon bio-based products to enable commercial success within the context of a circular economy. We are delighted to work in collaboration with experts from University of Limerick, Technological University Dublin and private companies on this initiative to the benefit of the region.’ 

Denis Brosnan, Executive Chairman of BHSL said: 

“We are excited to be part of this important research project which will look to demonstrate a wider application of BHSL’s technology to treat urban waste and turn it into energy and fertilizer. The project is an excellent example of collaboration between the private sector and third level institutions to support the Circular Economy in the South-West.”