BBNet funds awarded

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Proof of Concept funds

POC 01: Enzymatic production of brown algae derived polyol diacids

Project lead
Leonardo Gomez
Institute
University of York

Brown algal biomass (both wild and farmed) is exploited for food and food ingredients in parts of Asia and Europe, but remains largely unexploited in the UK despite its natural abundance and potential for farming. Research efforts are trying to develop value chains around brown algae in the UK, both through farming or collection. More […]

POC 02: Novel High-Performance Textile Composites

Project lead
Simon McQueen-Mason
Institute
University of York

The fashion industry, globally worth $700bn, utilised 110 millions tons of fibre in 2018 and has ranked the second most polluting industry in the world. Growing awareness of the impact of human consumption on the environment has led producers and consumers to look for more sustainable feedstocks and processes for textile production. (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/a-new-textiles-economy-redesigning-fashions-future). Bacterial cellulose […]

POC 03: Improving the economics of poly-B-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) production based on polymerisation of secreted monomers.

Project lead
David Leak
Institute
University of Bath

Poly-β-hydroxybutyrate is a biodegradable plastic produced as an intracellular polymer by some bacteria. While it has many potential uses, it is too expensive to produce for general application and is currently only used in specialist applications (eg medical). Aims Poly-β-hydroxybutryate (PHB) is a useful biopolymer with a limited current market due to the production economics. […]

POC 04: WasteWood2Paper: UK based, fully circular and low-cost paper packaging based on waste wood derived cellulose produced in a novel lignocellulose fractionation process

Project lead
Jason Hallett
Institute
Imperial College London

Currently, UK packaging producers use imported, virgin cellulose pulp for manufacturing their paper-based packaging materials and solutions. Meanwhile, industrial waste wood, such as wood pallets, wood chips and wooden off-cuts from the construction industry, is disposed of at a substantial cost due to the presence of metal preservatives and other contaminants. Aims We will use […]

POC 05: Seafibres: Production of sustainable fibres from UK sourced seaweed

Project lead
Leonardo Gomez
Institute
University of York

Seafibres aimed to produce sustainable functional fibres derived from UK sourced brown algae and to harness the potential of seaweed farming for sourcing algae biomass that could be fractionated and used to produce environmentally friendly fibres for specialised applications. At present, seaweed and products derived from them are sourced overseas. Half of the global seaweed […]

POC 06: Sounding out ultrasonic effects for lignin valorisation from organosolv and enzymatic processes (SULVOE)

Project lead
Madeleine Bussemaker
Institute
University of Surrey

Lignin constitutes 20-30% of lignocellulosic biomass, a non-edible biomass containing three intertwined biopolymers – cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. In the UK yearly production of lignocellulosic wastes from agricultural and forestry industries are ~1.3 million tons giving potential lignin availability of more than a quarter of a million tons. Hence lignin valorisation is imperative for economic […]

POC 07: A Chemo-enzymatic Approach to the Bio-production of a Nylon Precursor from Lignin in Engineered Escherichia coli

Project lead
Stephen Wallace
Institute
University of Edinburgh

Adipic acid is an important industrial chemical that is used primarily for the manufacture of nylon fabric. Over three million tonnes of adipic acid are manufactured each year worldwide via an industrial process that currently relies on diminishing fossil fuels and also emits unacceptable volumes of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. In fact, in 2015 […]

POC 08: SAFFS: Sustainable acrylic fabrics from seaweed

Project lead
Jonathan Todd
Institute
University of East Anglia

Acrylic acid is one of the most mass-produced chemicals in the world and it is used to manufacture a wide range of products including textiles, superabsorbents, paints and adhesives. Currently it can only be manufactured from fossil fuels. Global concern over greenhouse gas emissions has encouraged policy makers and industry to consider bio-based chemical production. […]

POC 09: Development of enzyme-based coloration and coating for sustainable machine washable wool to support the wool industry transition to a circular system

Project lead
Jinsong Shen
Institute
De Montfort University

Wool fibres offer extensive natural benefits such as thermal insulation, breathability and biodegradability. However, wool currently only makes up 1% of global fibre production due to strong competition from cheaper synthetic fibres. With increasing demands for sustainable textile materials, closed-loop textile circularity, and a reduction of negative impacts caused by synthetic materials (microplastic) damage to […]

POC 10: CruSHH – Crustacean Shell Protein-derived Peptides for Heart Health

Project lead
Christine Bosch
Institute
University of Leeds

This project aims to explore the potential of waste material from the seafood processing industry to be converted into functional products that can benefit heart health. With increasing numbers of obesity and chronic metabolic disease in the population, posing a huge burden to the health system, there is clearly a scope for development of functional […]

POC 11: Dark fermentation and homoacetogenesis to convert wheat straw into volatile fatty acids

Project lead
Matthew Reilly
Institute
University of York

Volatile fatty acids (VFAs) are a group of valuable chemicals with a wide variety of industrial applications across the pharmaceutical, biofuel, food, cosmetics and manufacturing sectors. The uses for VFAs range from the production of electronic cables insulation to providing fragrance in perfume. Carbonovia Ltd. is an industrial partner on this project and the company […]

POC 12: Bio-based catalyst for bioproduct oxidation

Project lead
Jonathan Wagner
Institute
Loughborough University

This project seeks to develop a cheap, nontoxic and fully renewable biorefinery catalyst to facilitate the oxidation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) into 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), a critical intermediate for bioplastics (e.g., Bio-PET) synthesis. Despite high demand, displacement of PET with FDCA-based PEF is currently limited by the high cost of this intermediate due to a lack […]

POC 13: Carpet beetle enzymes for sustainable valorisation of keratin

Project lead
Federico Sabbadin
Institute
University of York

Keratin is an abundant structural protein that forms the bulk of hair, fur, feathers, hooves, horns and scales in animals. Over 65 million tons of keratin waste are generated each year from the food and textile industry, and they represent a cheap and plentiful source of building blocks (peptides and amino acids) for the production […]

POC 14: Mining natural and synthetic diversity towards sustainable methacrylate production

Project lead
Benjamin Blount
Institute
University of Nottingham

Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is a chemical building block for plastics, building materials, surface coatings and medical/dental implant materials. Currently, ~4 million tonnes (valued at ~$7.5 bn) is produced annually from petrochemicals. This produces ~14 million tonnes of associated CO2 emissions, roughly equivalent to the total annual CO2 emissions of Slovenia. We are partnering with the […]

POC 15: MSAD: Methanosarcina detection and addition for optimised anaerobic digestion

Project lead
Caroline Hayley Orr
Institute
Teesside University

MSAD will demonstrate the potential of Methanosarcina as an inoculant for the AD industry and develop an optimised method for detection. Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a complex biological process whereby organic waste is broken down to produce biogas. Previously we have worked with a range of AD facilities at different scales and observed the digester microbial […]

POC 18: From lignocellulosic biomass to chemical wealth

Project lead
Mauro Rinaldi
Institute
University of Hull

Our society desperately needs to transition away from petrochemicals in the manufacturing of high-value chemicals to meet global sustainability and carbon goals. These everyday chemicals include life-saving medicines, agrichemicals, and flavours and fragrances in our toothpaste and cleaning products. The challenge is that manufacturing of carbon-based chemicals cannot be decarbonised, and biomass is the only […]

Business Interaction Vouchers

BIV 01: Transplanting biomass utilisation machinery into an industrial yeast for an affordable bioproduction

Project lead
Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro
Institute
Imperial College London

This project combines the expertise of the academic partner in engineering substrate utilisation in the industrial yeast Yarrowia lipolytica with previously engineered strains that produce high value products created by the technology of the industrial partner. Aims This project aimed at producing high value terpenes in yeast using low-cost substrates. Outcomes During this partnership, we […]

BIV 02: Bio-loading impact study on downstream hydrolysis and fermentation of autoclaved fibre from the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW)

Project lead
Jessica Adams
Institute
Aberystwyth University

Approximately half of the domestic waste produced in the UK is still not recycled and much is either, burnt to produce energy releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, or placed in landfill with the consequent release of methane; a gas over twenty times more potent than CO2 in terms of its potential for retaining heat in […]

BIV 03: Can green seaweed provide a new bio-based route for the production of acrylic acid in the context of biorefineries?

Project lead
Thierry Tonon
Institute
University of York

Acrylic acid is a platform chemical used to produce esters which are polymerized for applications in paper treatment, plastic additives, textiles, sealants, adhesives and surface coatings. It is also an important starting material for superabsorbent polymers, which are widely used in diapers and other hygiene products. The market value of acrylate is expected to reach […]

BIV 04: Integrating digital modelling techniques to develop a sugarcane biowaste valorisation process

Project lead
Dongda Zhang
Institute
The University of Manchester

This project aims to improve the technology readiness level and manufacturability of a sustainable industrial biotechnology developed at Green Fuel Research Ltd. (GFR) which can effectively create valuable chemicals (butanol, succinic acid and lactic acid) from sugarcane biomass waste. The project strongly underpins a UK’s national research priority – Growing the Bioeconomy. The UK’s bioeconomy […]

BIV 05: Catalytic conversion of bio-derived feedstocks to bio-LPG component gases

Project lead
Jude Onwudili
Institute
Aston University

LPG is a clean burning lower-carbon fuel and due to the low emission of particulate matter and other pollutants during its combustion, promotes better air quality. There is an urgent need to develop bio-based low carbon pathways to C3 and C4 hydrocarbons to replace the existing use of liquefied petroleum gases (LPG). With a global […]

BIV 06: Exploring a novel circular economy concept for the valorisation of crude glycerol from biodiesel production

Project lead
Alfred Fernandez-Castane
Institute
Aston University

The production of biodiesel uses for example, vegetable oils and fats and; yields crude glycerol as by-product. For every 100 kg of oil converted, 10 kg of crude glycerol are produced. The purification of glycerol is complex and pure glycerol is low-priced thus, not presenting economic incentive to the biodiesel industry. However, crude glycerol can […]

BIV 07: Assessing varied food manufacturer’s waste for further valorisation as industrial biotechnology feedstock

Project lead
James Winterburn
Institute
The University of Manchester

Unavoidable byproducts/wastes from food manufacturing could provide an important source of nutrients for fermentation process. Substitution of purified substrates typically used in industrial biotechnology could provide the increased market competitiveness needed by a number of sustainable products such as biopolymers and biosurfactants. Existing research on the valorisation of food manufacturing byproducts/wastes typically focused on streams […]

BIV 08: Preteatment of cellulosic textiles by reaxtive species produces by gas plasma

Project lead
Hemaka Bandulasena
Institute
Loughborough University

As part of the Textile Circularity Centre, The University of York has developed an effective method for producing high quality cellulose from end-of-life textiles, which can be used to create new cellulosic textile fibres. The process uses environmentally benign digestion of cellulosic fibres with enzymes to convert them into sugars. This process also releases dye […]

BIV 10: Recycling of paper waste from plasterboard

Project lead
Jason Hallett
Institute
Imperial College London

Plasterboard is made from a layer of gypsum (calcium sulfate) pressed between layers of paper. The paper used in plasterboard is often recycled paper, limiting both the cost of materials and options for recycling. Recycling plasterboard requires the separation and subsequent recovery of both the gypsum and fibres, and conditions for gypsum dissolution (concentrated acid) […]

The latest news from the Biomass Biorefinery Network

Initials BIV standing for business interaction vouchers on a pink background

Published on 22/03/24

4th round of BIV applications now open! Deadline 30th June 24

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Published on 15/03/24

Final BBNet PoC Call – now open!

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Published on 01/11/23

3rd BBNet Conference: Registration now open!

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Published on 11/10/23

ESCR POC Funding call is now open!

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Published on 19/09/23

Registration deadline extended! BBNet, HVB, EBNet & Supergen Bioenergy Hub ECR Workshop 10-11 Oct

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