Prof Piet Lens and his large team of PhD and post-doctoral researchers in the Department of Microbiology at NUI Galway are spearheading a major research project to transform waste and wastewater treatment into production processes as part of a circular economy.

The project will develop new technologies to produce biobased renewable fuels (such as hydrogen from dairy effluent) that are generated from waste products (such as butanol from spent brewery grains). These can be added to Ireland’s energy mix, supporting the Government’s strategy for an energy self-sufficient Irish bioeconomy.

Besides high-tech solutions, nature-based technologies will also be developed with the aim of tackling socio-environmental challenges such as climate change, water security, water pollution, food security and human health. These pollution control technologies are based on processes as they occur in wetlands and algal ponds. Also, the biomanufacturing of new biobased products such as fertilisers and biocommodities such as bioplastic.