BiOrbic’s research programme focuses on three critical pillars of the bioeconomy through fundamental research platforms and collaborative projects with industry. These pillars are Sustainability, Selective separation and Conversion.
BiOrbic’s technology platform’s research investigates the use of novel materials and processes to achieve separation of heterogenous mixtures to produce desired products or building blocks for conversion by synthetic or biological catalysts.
Our sustainability platform research examines multiple potential scenarios for the future bioeconomy in Ireland through stakeholder engagement, life cycle thinking, and socio- economic analysis. This will help us to understand potential futures for the Irish and wider bioeconomy and to inform policy development.
The Selective Separation Platform addresses challenges of selectively separating small molecules such as gases (e.g. CO2), mixtures of sugars (monosaccharides and disaccharides) and large molecules (e.g. proteins). Key research objectives are the creation of novel selective membranes, the use of bio-based materials, the design of novel processes with a combination of existing membranes, and catalysis within membranes as selective reactive modules. The sharing of knowledge and expertise between Selective Separation and Conversion Platforms is critical to achieving these goals.
Systems and Synthetic biology are key tools to understand and engineer microorganisms for the building of industrial biotechnology in the bioeconomy. Key research objectives are to use Omics to understand microbial systems and synthetic biology to exploit them to make high value bio-based products. The use of dairy derived lactose, generated by Selective Separation Platform research, as a novel ligand scaffold for asymmetric synthesis, to make vaccines and for use in drug delivery will be investigated. The use of synthetic chemistry for the valorisation of biomass derived gases is also a major objective and linked to Selective Separation platform research.
BiOrbic brings together a number of diverse disciplines (economics, social science, business development, life cycle analysis), each with specific tools and methods, to cooperate and address key challenges with the overarching objective of the development of the bioeconomy in Ireland that will deliver equitable outcomes across society. The research in the Sustainability platform will inform research in the other two platforms, Spokes and vice versa.
BiOrbic works in partnership with industry in the agri-food and marine sectors through targeted projects in two defined Spokes – agriculture and marine – to develop a resource efficient approach to sustainable production of food, feed and other vital products. We are also actively engaged with other bioeconomy relevant sectors.
Translation of our Research
Research performed at BiOrbic, in particular collaborative industry projects are developed as part of a wider national bioeconomy research and development ecosystem. This includes. translation of fundamental research at BiOrbic, through to pilot scale facilities to accelerate technological discoveries, for example at the National Bioeconomy Campus in Lisheen, Co. Tipperary to market implementation through flagship biorefineries.