The COOPID project has carried out a selection of 10 success cases within the bioeconomy across the EU primary sector. This is the one belonging to the Irish Success Case: Carbery. This case covers their overall business idea, main products, key characteristics, and plans for development of its business model.

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Main facts

  • Founded in 1965

  • >700 employees

  • Cooperatively owned

  • Processes milk from 1200 dairy farmers in Ireland

  • Processes 596 million litres milk per year

  • Produces 12 million litres of bioethanol per year

Overall business idea

  1. Cascading use of dairy feedstock business model through biorefining

  2. Biorefinery produces cheese, whey and flavouring ingredients
  3. Residual lactose stream converted to ethanol for alcohol, chemical and biofuel markets
  4. Ethanol residues processed to produce biogas with energy used on site

Key characteristics of the success story

  1. Cascading use of biomaterials

  2. Circulation of nutrients
  3. Technological innovation: technological push/market pull
  4. Early adopter of new technologies and concepts
  5. Cooperative business model – farmers benefit from sale of products
  6. Location – local, geographical proximity
  7. Rural job creation and upskilling
  8. Sustainable land use creating resilient and carbon neutral farms

Main products

  1. Cheese
  2. Whey
  3. Flavoring ingredients
  4. Bioethanol from whey
  5. Biogas from process residues

Plans for development

The Farm Zero C-initiative is targeting the world´s first climate-neutral and net-zero emissions dairy farm. The next steps include the implementation of the biorefining concept at farm level through conversion of fresh grass into value-added products including cattle feed fiber, protein concentrate for monogastric, prebiotics and grass whey for fertilizer or bioenergy.

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