JJ Leahy, associate professor in UL’s Department of Chemical Sciences is leading two EU projects on the Circular Bioeconomy, REFLOW and BIOWILL.
REFLOW is an interdisciplinary cross-sectoral European Training Network combining world-leading scientists and key stake-holders in dairy processing, fertilizer production and phosphorous recycling with early stage researchers to address important technical and socio-economic challenges associated with the recovery of phosphorous from dairy processing waste water and its recycling into fertilizer products enabling sustainable expansion of the dairy industry in Europe. REFLOW research will (i) mitigate the environmental impact of dairy processing waste on soil and water, (ii) provide safe environmentally sustainable, cost effective closed loop solutions for crop nutrient management (iii) meet the demand for skilled professionals to support the technical, regulatory and commercial development of the market for recycled phosphorous fertilizer products in accordance with the deliverables of the Circular Economy Package.
REFLOW will achieve these goals by creating an innovative and entrepreneurial training environment for the next generation of scientists. 13 ESRs will be recruited in a network of 10 beneficiaries and 14 partner organisations who bring complementary expertise and experience of delivering technical solutions, socio-economic modeling, environmental analysis, policy frameworks, high level training and commercial entrepreneurship. Graduating fellows will be equipped with a unique range of relevant interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral skills for careers as independent industrial or academic researchers, entrepreneurs, regulators or agri-environmental specialists. REFLOW will train the Fellows through an integrated and cohesive curriculum of network-wide partner training activities including industrial secondments and embedded commercially driven research projects. The outputs from REFLOW will influence land management practice, the rural bio-economy framework and EU policy goals while significantly progressing the state- of-the-art in Phosphorous recycling.
The BIOWILL project aims to be a flagship for rural Ireland through a zero-waste biorefinery utilising all fractions of willow trees for the production of high to medium based biochemicals/materials and renewable energy in the form of biomethane production and natural fertilisers. The project consists of 10 partners in four countries across Europe.
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