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Biome secures grant to develop bioplastics manufacture bio-based alternative

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Biome secures grant to develop bioplastics manufacture bio-based alternative

April 10
09:10 2013

The UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, has awarded a grant to a consortium led by UK-based Biome Technologies, to investigate a bio-based alternative for the oil-derived organic chemicals used in the manufacturer of bioplastics.

The research will be undertaken by the group’s bioplastic division Biome Bioplastics, a leading developer of natural plastics, in conjunction with the University of Warwick’s Centre for Biotechnology and Biorefining.

The £150,000 grant is part of the Technology Strategy Board’s ‘Sustainable high value chemical manufacture through industrial biotechnology’ technical feasibility competition, which funds projects that apply sustainable bio-based feedstocks and biocatalytic processes in the production of chemicals.

One source of bio-based chemicals used in the production of bioplastics is lignin, the complex hydrocarbon that helps to provide structural support in plants.

As a waste product of the pulp and paper industry, lignin is a potentially abundant feedstock that could provide the foundation for a new generation of bioplastics.

Biome has partnered with the University of Warwick’s Centre for Biotechnology and Biorefining, where pioneering academic research into lignin-degrading bacteria is being conducted.

Biome is working with the Warwick team to develop methods to control the lignin breakdown process, to determine whether these chemicals can be extracted in significant quantities.

“The environmental and social concerns surrounding the use of fossil fuels and food crops make lignin a compelling target as a source of chemicals”, explains Professor Tim Bugg, director of the Centre.

“Often considered a waste product, it may provide a sustainable source of building blocks for aromatic chemicals that can be used in bioplastics”.

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