In 2008 Mark Turley identified renewable energy as an attractive investment option after researching the sector extensively. Four years later, construction of a new ethanol plant was completed and production commenced in 2012. Using feed corn as feedstock, the business also developed animal nutrition and bioproduct capabilities. A €250 million investment in the biorefinery has seen it double in size since it opened.
A key factor in the investment decision was favourable EU regulatory policies that strongly promoted investment in crop based liquid biofuel to displace oil in transport. Much of these crops were grown on land previously in set aside programs and the policy supported farmers in transitioning once set aside ended. An additional bonus for Europe was the boosting of local protein supplies (DDGS or Dried Distillers Grains) in a continent heavily dependent on imports to feed its animal population.
Subsequent changes in regulatory policy by the EU resulted in changes in the Group’s investment strategy. In 2018 the Group holding company changed its name from Ethanol Europe Renewables to ClonBio while its subsidiary Pannonia Ethanol changed to Pannonia Bio. The name change signals the redirection of the Group into bioproduct development based on corn ethanol technology.
The name ClonBio is made up of the two words “Clon” and “Bio”. Bio signifies the biotechnology dimension of the Group. "Clon" means a piece of fertile ground or a meadow in the Irish language and is a prefix to many Irish place names. This gives both an Irish and agriculture meaning to the name. It is also the prefix to the ancient Irish monastic and learning centre of Clonmacnoise near Shannonbridge on the River Shannon, with which the Turley family is closely linked.