Manufacturing & Supply Chain

£11.5 million bioinnovation boost set to transform UK manufacturing

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£11.5 million bioinnovation boost set to transform UK manufacturing

£11.5 million bioinnovation boost set to transform UK manufacturing
March 08
10:00 2024
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UKRI (UK Research & Innovation) is backing 21 cross-sector collaborations designed to spark innovation, commercialisation and growth in UK sustainable biomanufacturing. When it comes to manufacturing, the UK is one of the biggest players on the world stage.

Spanning a wide variety of sub-sectors, the almost three million strong manufacturing workforce generates a staggering 16.68% of the UK’s gross domestic product. Needless to say, the manufacturing sector is critical to economy and society alike.

But it comes at a cost. An environmental cost. Because this mammoth sector produces 14% of all UK carbon emissions, making it the third largest emitting sector in the UK.

The power of biology

This latest investment from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK will harness the collective expertise of industry and academia. It will develop novel solutions that drive advancements in sustainable biomanufacturing.

The 21 collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects will leverage the power of biology to unlock innovative products and processes that are both scalable and sustainable.

Challenge areas

Each project will address one or more of the following challenge areas:

  • increasing the use of bio-based feedstocks
  • developing alternative bio-based chemical replacements
  • enhancing the sustainability profile of biotechnology processes
  • innovative use and reuse of renewable feedstocks
  • establishing biotechnology-based manufacturing processes for sustainable and circular products

Clean and competitive

The 21 projects being announced form part of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) wider sustainable bio-based materials and manufacture programme. This programme of strategic investments will enhance the UK’s global competitiveness by supporting research and innovation that leads to new and disruptive biomanufacturing processes across the UK.

It follows 34 feasibility studies announced in April 2023. Given the impact manufacturing currently has on UK carbon emissions, the programme will also bolster the UK’s drive to net zero by 2050.

A pivotal moment for UK manufacturing

Dr Lee Beniston FRSB, Associate Director for Industry Partnerships and Collaborative R&D at BBSRC, said: “These projects, supported by an £11.5 million joint investment through BBSRC, EPSRC and Innovate UK, will bring together researchers and businesses to develop innovative, more sustainable biomanufacturing solutions across many industries and sectors in the UK.

“This investment will support cutting-edge, collaborative research and development, enabling businesses to bring new technologies to market faster whilst enhancing the UK’s position as a global leader in sustainable manufacturing.”

The 21 CR&D projects

Advanced recycling technology for innovative styrene transformation (A.R.T.I.S.T)


  • Crown Paints Limited
  • Impact laboratories Limited
  • C-Source Renewables Limited
  • The University of Edinburgh

Bio-based chemicals from pulping and agricultural waste


  • Nova Biochem Ltd
  • Biorenewables Development Centre Limited

Bio-based urine fertiliser and circular economy business model


  • Vandenberghuk Ltd
  • Green Square Agro Consulting Ltd
  • Pilio Limited
  • Agri-Epi Centre Limited
  • Royal Agricultural University
  • Satis Urinals Ltd

Biocatalytic nitro-reductions in scalable continuous flow reactors: paracetamol case study


  • HydRegen Limited
  • Ashe Morris Ltd

Bio-electrocatalysis ethylene synthesis


  • Transformational Energy Limited
  • Manufacturing Technology Centre

Bio-methanol manufacturing using farming biogas by-products


  • Purifire Labs Limited
  • Cranfield University
  • JJ Power Limited

Carbon dioxide to biochar: harnessing the potential of a fast-growing cyanobacterium for cost-efficient carbon capture utilisation and storage


  • Cyanocapture Ltd
  • The University of Edinburgh

Developing innovative green packaging materials


  • James Hutton Limited
  • James Hutton Institute
  • Cellucomp Limited

Developing mixed microbial populations for industrial side stream conversion into textile dyes and wider bio-products


  • Evolutor Limited
  • Faber Futures Limited

Development of recyclable, sustainable and functionalised packaging materials using plant-based technology to replace plastic


  • Cellucomp Limited
  • The University of Edinburgh

Fermentation optimisation for a palm oil alternative


  • Sun Bear Bioworks Ltd
  • University College London

Fermochar: fermentation residue into engineered char-based materials for sustainable industrial applications; a pathway to net zero


  • Teesside University
  • Chip[s] Board Ltd
  • Albumedix Ltd
  • University of Leeds
  • Three Brothers Brewing Company Limited

From seaweed farm to seaweed fork, from biomaterial to biomanufacturing: development and manufacturing of Notpla rigid material from whole biomass seaweed


  • Notpla Limited
  • Eco Cascade CIC
  • Atritor Limited
  • Plastic Engineering Solutions Limited

Material, process and development of a novel composite, layered, plastic-free leather alternative derived from waste brewery grain


  • Arda Biomaterials Ltd
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • King’s College London

Microbial manufacturing of metals from mineral mining waste (5ms)


  • University of Nottingham
  • Natural History Museum
  • Active Bacterial Solutions Limited
  • British Geological Survey
  • Imerys

Next-generation sustainable liquid packaging using only bio-based feedstock derived from non-food waste: Pulpex UK bioscience initiative


  • Pulpex Limited
  • University of Surrey
  • CuanTec Limited
  • Cellucomp Limited
  • Diageo plc
  • Scitech Adhesive Systems Ltd
  • Bangor University

Peptide raw materials for high performance and biodegradable personal care products


  • Zentraxa Limited
  • Centre for Process Innovation Limited, trading as CPI

Sustainable bioproduction of lactobionic acid from whey-based bioprocess and expansion of accessible markets through biotech active ingredients (‘BIONICe’)


  • Activatec Ltd
  • Biorenewables Development Centre Limited

Sustainably sourced biopolymers for use in complex paper packaging


  • Cambridge Smart Plastics Limited
  • University of Cambridge

The use of seaweed spent biomass to catalyse industrial up-scaling of polyhydroxyalkanoate and poly-γ-glutamic acid, a circular biorefinery approach


  • FlexSea Ltd
  • Centre for Process Innovation Limited, trading as CPI

World’s first on-site integration of bio-concrete manufacturing


  • BioZeroc Ltd
  • University of East London
  • Maplex Technology Ltd

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