Galway-based greentech company, Cellulac, has been approved for a record €2.8 million grant from the European Commission to commercialise its biorefining technology that converts agricultural waste into lactic acid. Cellulac is a high-potential start up client of Enterprise Ireland which supported the company in its bid for this significant grant.
Lactic acid is used in food and beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, biodegradable plastics and other industrial sectors. It is a growing €4 billion pa market and is expanding at a rate of 19% per year.
The EU grant approval, which will anchor a consortium of funding from State, institutional and private investors, will be used to prove mass production capability. Possible locations for the demonstration plant – where lactic acid will be produced at an industrial level with the goal of licensing the technology world wide – are currently being scouted in Ireland and the EU.
Cellulac will create 14 high quality jobs and will be recruiting graduates from the life sciences and engineering sectors to grow its research base in Ireland.
Fin Murray, chief executive of Cellulac, comments: “This win and our confidence that Cellulac will be filling key R&D roles locally is a testament to the investment poured into the development of the life sciences and green tech sectors over the last number of years. GMIT, NUI Galway and the Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy supported by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, will prove to be key supports for greentech companies like ours.”
He continues: “We are actively fundraising at the moment and are interested in hearing from potential investors with domain knowledge or potential partners that have a stake in this exciting new industry.”
Enterprise Ireland’s CIP Eco-innovation National Contact Point Mark Sweeney says: “The 2012 call is open soon and we are actively looking for companies with innovative products and processes that reduce environmental impacts.” Any interested companies should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fin Murray, chief executive of Cellulac, and Sean Sherlock TD, Minister for Research & Innovation. (Picture by Gary O’Neill Photography).