Public and private sectors unite to make more of brewing by-products
9 May 2011
A collaboration between BBSRC, EPSRC and industry has today (9 May 2011) announced new funding for research into ways of extracting valuable chemicals from the co-products of grain brewing.
The refining of both alcohol and biofuels produces low-value derivatives that are often sold as animal feed. This new funding call will challenge researchers to find ways of processing these by-products to yield chemicals sustainably that would otherwise have to be produced from fossil fuels.
The investment forms part of the Integrated Biorefining Technologies Initiative (IBTI) Club, a BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council)-led partnership with EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and Industry. This final round of funding will cap off over £5M of investment that the club has made into biorefining over the past three years.
The IBTI Club aims to support biorefining in the UK by finding ways of overcoming existing bottlenecks or by finding new methods for enhancing the value of current products. This research will help to develop a commercially competitive biorefining industry in the UK which will be vital in order to help us meet our renewables targets and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
Previous projects funded by the IBTI Club include research into deriving new flavourings, antioxidants and valuable aromatic chemicals from indigestible parts of plants. This call will draw on the expertise of a range of scientists from engineers to microbiologists to make the best use of a side-product which will become increasingly abundant in the UK as more bioethanol plants come on line.
Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Director of Innovation and skills said: "As fossil fuel resources are depleted we will need to find new ways of not only fuelling our vehicles and power stations, but also producing our plastics and other vital industrial chemicals. Plant matter is going to be an important source for replacing these carbon-based products and it is crucial that scientific expertise is encouraged to help industry to do this, and in a way that is sustainable and economically viable."
Notes to editors
For more information on IBTI Club and how to apply please see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/business/collaborative-research/industry-clubs/ibti/ibti-background.aspx
BBSRC will run an Advice Workshop in London on Thursday 16 June to provide applicants with the opportunity to discuss their proposals with the Club's industry members.
All potential applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the Advice Workshop in June, since it will offer an opportunity to ask advice of the IBTI Club's industry members.
There is a two stage application procedure. Initially, proposals must be submitted as an outline proposal. Outline proposals for funding must be submitted by Tuesday 5 July.
The Integrated Biorefining Technologies Initiative (IBTI) club aims to provide a means to combine relevant academic expertise to work on innovative, multidisciplinary, scientific areas of relevance to industry. An integral feature of the club's operation will be the delivery of efficient mechanisms to facilitate the dissemination of research outcomes to club members and support effective networking and community building between academic groups and the companies involved.
The club currently has 10 company members:
- Biocaldol Ltd
- BP Biofuels UK Ltd
- British Sugar Plc
- Croda Enterprises Ltd
- Green Biologics Ltd
- KWS UK Ltd
- Syngenta Ltd
- TMO Renewables Ltd
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800m a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change.
The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via research Councils UK. www.epsrc.ac.uk
BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £470M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.
BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:
- The Babraham Institute
- Institute for Animal Health
- Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University)
- Institute of Food Research
- John Innes Centre
- The Genome Analysis Centre
- The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
- Rothamsted Research
The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.