Biorefinery Glas

Small-scale farmer-led green biorefineries


Biorefinery Glas aims to improve the sustainability, value and resource efficiency of Ireland’s livestock sector through farmer diversification into the bioeconomy. The project will demonstrate a replicable small-scale biorefinery with farmers in the West Cork Region. Through biorefining, perennial ryegrass is fractionated into a variety of new products in a process which improves the protein efficiency, value and sustainability of our grasslands.

The biorefinery approach converts freshly harvested grass into a range of products, including; an optimised cattle feed fibre, a non-GMO protein concentrate feed for monogastrics, a high-value sugar stream of fructo-oligosaccharides and a grass whey for fertiliser or bioenergy applications. The project targets a 40% increase in usable protein per hectare. The project also expects to achieve a 25% reduction in nitrogen emissions in cattle excrement, with additional emissions savings through displacement of soybean feed imports with a grass-based monogastric feed. The project also demonstrates and evaluates an innovative business model for farm diversification into the circular economy and supports farmers with a range of knowledge exchange and dissemination activities.


  • Demonstrate a unique and replicable bioeconomy model which can allow farmers to diversify while solving current challenges for the agricultural sector
  • Demonstrate through bioeconomy how the feed potential potential of grass can be improved, allowing greater potential for farmers, both dairy/beef farmers and pig/poultry farmers to collaborate within the bioeconomy for mutual benefit
  • Reduce emissions in dairy and pig sectors through the production of low emission feeds from grass through biorefinery
  • Assess potential of value-added co-products and energy for grass
  • Assess the business case of the value chain model, including business models for farmers
  • Improve awareness of green biorefinery and the bioeconomy among farmers through demonstration


  • Improving resource efficiency (additional products from grass), and improving protein efficiency of grass (by 40%) through biorefining while maintaining dairy productivity
  • Reducing emissions of N and P (by 25%) in cattle excrement and reducing related emissions
  • Facilitating production of products for purposes of bioeconomy
  • Providing sustainable bioeconomy diversification opportunities and upskilling of farmers

Project details

Start date:
1st February 2019

End date:
28th February 2021

Funding details:
EIP-Agri and Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, €940,498


  • MTU
  • UCD
  • Carbery Group
  • Barryroe Co-operative

Project Coordination

Organisation name: MTU