What’s on : Lectures

Getting back to our roots – building the region’s bioeconomy

12 Feb 2019
Start time
7:30 PM
Tempest Anderson Hall
Dr Joe Ross, Director, Biorenewables Development Centre

Event Information

Getting back to our roots – building the region’s bioeconomy
Dr Joe Ross, Director, Biorenewables Development Centre

The production of energy, transport fuel and many everyday products has been dominated for the last 200 years by the use of oil, coal and natural gas. In the long term, this is fundamentally unsustainable as we have a finite amount of these fossil-based resources.

The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) company was set up by the University of York to help translate world-class research into the development of a new economy – the bioeconomy – where these products that we all rely upon to live our lives are made from a sustainable source of raw materials – animals, plants and microbes.

The BDC has worked over the last 6 years with hundreds of businesses looking to develop new bio-based processes and products. The company has a broad range of open access facilities allowing developers to work with R+D technologists and test their ideas at pilot scale.

Along the way we have also set up BioVale, a cluster organisation that is building a connected ecosystem of bioeconomy organisations across Yorkshire and Humberside.

Member’s report

The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) was set up to work at the interface between academia and industry. Driven by the need to find alternatives to finite petrochemical resources and a desire to send less waste to landfill, its aim is to turn raw materials – animals, plants, microbes and wastes – into everyday products. It will use a bio-refining approach to accelerate the conversion of research innovation into practical applications. As well as finding new markets for these products, it aims to provide both more energy security and high-quality jobs.

One project is with GSK, one of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies operating in 150 countries, who have worked with the BDC to identify potential new sources of glucose from food manufacturing: in particular using bread and potato waste as a starting material. Following successful trials at the BDC the challenge now is to find opportunities to scale up this process to commercial-level. In February 2019, the University of York launched BioYork (https://www.york.ac.uk/bioyork) to combine the university’s world-class research and knowledge base with bioeconomy organisations across Yorkshire and Humberside to drive the development of UK bio-based industries and deliver growth, jobs and environmental benefits. CB

Catherine Brophy

Note: On 3 July 2019, there will be an opportunity to find out more about the BDC’s research when their BioVale project will be explained at York Café Scientifique.