Cellulac plc is to create 30 new jobs in Dundalk for the sustainable production of lactic acid from second-generation (2G) feedstocks. It is the first company to convert brewery facilities for this purpose.
Cellulac is leasing a 6.8-acre site from the Irish Whiskey Company, which is developing a distillery on the balance of the 13-acre site, which was until recently the home of the second largest brewery in Ireland.
Cellulac intends to retrofit the facility and incorporate its end-to-end chemical and process engineering platform to produce lactic acid and polylactic acid for biodegradable plastics, ethyl lactate, a green solvent, and sodium lactate.
The company has produced lactic acid at a pilot plant in Potsdam, Germany. It expects to ramp up production at the facility initially to 20,000 tonnes per annum, which will have a revenue value in excess of €40m, for export by the end of 2015. Operations are expected to begin by June 2014.
The company is targeting a US$1.6bn market for lactic acid-based biochemical.
“Ireland has a worldwide reputation for quality food ingredients derived from the agricultural sector. It is fitting, therefore, that we are at the forefront of the new bio-economy sector,” Cellulac CEO Gerard Brandon said.
“With the support of the European we will convert, part of what was until recently, the second largest brewery in Ireland into what will be the largest producer of lactic acid from agricultural waste and dairy byproducts.
“This will not only directly breathe new opportunity into Dundalk by creating 30 jobs, but it will also indirectly support agricultural jobs in the rural community and generate local taxes that will benefit the area,” Brandon added.