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Public and private sectors unite to make more of brewing by-products

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."


Contact: Mike Davies
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

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