The world’s first large-scale barley protein plant is set to be commissioned in the coming months, becoming a key player in the plant protein market. The plant, which spans 10ac, is being built by Clonbio Group, an Irish-owned renewable energy and nutrition company based in Hungary.

The Irish Farmers Journal recently visited the €85m plant, which will extract 65% protein from barley.

The barley protein, with its neutral flavour, texture, and colour, can be used in a broad range of food products, differentiating it from competitors like soya, pea, and bean protein, according to Clonbio.

When fully operational, the plant will be able to process up to 300,000t of barley per year.


Clonbio explains that protein yields per hectare from barley are higher than that of peas and beans. Furthermore, barley is already produced at scale in Europe, whereas a considerable amount of the continent’s soya is imported from the US and South America.

The left-over fibre from the barley will be used as feedstock in the company’s anaerobic digestion plant, which supplies 20% of the site’s energy needs.