Business Secretary opens unique national facility to expand the use of plants by industry
5 July 2012
The Business Secretary Vince Cable has opened a new Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) at the University of York.
Dr Mark Gronnow, Process Development Unit Manager, adjusting the continuous flow, low temperature microwave pyrolysis equipment. Image: Biorenewables Development Centre
The BDC integrates modern genetics with green chemistry and processing techniques to create renewable chemicals and materials. It will support industry in developing manufacturing technologies that use plants, microbes and biowastes as the raw materials for high value products.
The open-access facilities bridge the gap between the laboratory and industry, providing companies and academia with a way to test, develop and scale up biorefining processes.
The unique feature of the BDC is that it can also use molecular breeding to rapidly improve plants and microbes as raw materials for these processes. This creates the potential to source high-value chemicals from plants by developing novel crops or improving those already in use.
Expansion of the Centre has been supported with £2.5M from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
BBSRC's Bioenergy Champion Duncan Eggar, said: "The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council welcomes the new facility which will benefit the industrial biotechnology community throughout the UK by enabling more efficient improvement of plant and microbial raw materials. The development centre offers the opportunity to take research to the next level, turning ideas into industry products. The facility highlights the important role that investment in this area can play in boosting economic growth, and highlights how academics and business can work together to generate new products and new jobs."