BioSpark, the newly-formed joint venture between Imperative Energy Ltd and Sustainable BioPolymers Ltd, has announced its intention to invest €40 million in the development of a next generation bio-processing research, innovation and manufacturing centre at Claremorris which will create 180 new high value jobs within the local and regional economy with the realistic potential to grow to 300 jobs within three years.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Mary Coughlan, attended a meeting of local representatives in Claremorris last Friday to officially make the announcement.
The BioSpark development is to be located at a 22-acre site close to the town of Claremorris, and will incorporate 17 commercial units to house a cluster of related business ventures. The colocation of all of these elements is specifically designed to extract the maximum value from locally produced biomass in a model that is completely sustainable from both an environmental and an economic point of view.
Making the announcement the Tánaiste said: “The impact of 180 high level jobs in County Mayo cannot be over emphasised. Certainly the construction jobs during the building phase will be a boost to the local economy; however, it is the sustainable jobs of the ultimate workforce that will be a real driver to the local and regional economy.”
She continued: “The BioSpark project is not just impressive at a County Mayo level, this is a project that will impress on an international scale and sends a strong message that the conditions are right for new businesses to set up in Ireland. Bioprocessing has been talked about for some time but this is the first real manifestation of a commercial scale facility with such a strong focus on innovation and R&D.”
The total development will cost €40m and will be constructed over the next two years, subject to planning approval. The regional and national impact of the development will be 120 jobs during construction; 80 full-time positions post-construction – mostly high skilled, engineering roles engaged in R&D; manufacturing and operations management; 100 upstream jobs in harvesting, transportation and supply chain management; a further potential 120 high value jobs at the BioSpark Claremorris centre within three years of its completion as new business ventures are spun off; €18m yearly spend on locally sourced goods and services; significant Intellectual Property (IP ) relating to process enhancements as well as new product developments, which will be primarily co-ordinated through the Energy Research Centre at NUI Galway; significant displacement of imported fossil fuels and fossil fuel derived products; ready availability of green energy to the Claremorris area to support further inward investment in commercial, industrial and residential developments, similar to well-established district heating schemes in countries such as Sweden and Finland.