Roadmap set for Scottish biorefining industry through to 2025

Industry-led initiative agrees key actions to increase turnover to £900m by 2025

In the next step towards growing Scotland’s bioeconomy, the Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Development Group, supported by Scottish Enterprise, released today the Biorefinery Roadmap for Scotland at the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum Showcase in London. The Roadmap outlines the actions required and the support needed to contribute to industry’s goal of increasing turnover in industrial biotechnology from £189m in 2012 to £900m by 2025, as was laid out in the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology.

As part of the forward plan, Scotland is interested in establishing biorefineries through infrastructure, investment, collaboration and technology transfer. The Roadmap will be delivered through four key themes over the next ten years:

  • Innovate in Scotland – to develop the unique resources and capabilities in Scotland to create compelling cases for biorefineries;
  • Engage Industry – to identify and work with companies that will deliver the biorefineries in Scotland;
  • Foster Research & Innovation – to strengthen research and innovation in biorefining technologies and markets; and
  • Stimulate Market Demand – to create the market environment for investment.

Alan Wolstenholme, Chairman of the Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Development Group, commented: “Biorefining has an important role to play in driving Scotland’s low-carbon agenda and the Biorefinery Roadmap is the beginning of the journey. Building on existing expertise in chemicals, life sciences and engineering, key Scottish stakeholders are committed to following the Roadmap to ensure that further investment and development in biorefining will not only boost Scottish manufacturing, but will push the country to the forefront of sector developments in Europe.

“Essential to these efforts will be the partnerships that will need to be undertaken across private, public and academic institutions. I’m proud to say that this is already taking place at the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), for example, and through other initiatives. The Roadmap further defines the importance of this sort of industry engagement for the future of the bioeconomy and to the benefit of society.”

Caroline Strain, head of chemical sciences at Scottish Enterprise, added, “The Biorefinery Roadmap applies Scotland’s current research and engineering strengths to a longer term vision that will ultimately enable the country to take a significant role in the world’s industrial biotechnology sector. Scottish Enterprise will prioritise the actions laid out in the Roadmap and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with other talented leaders.

“We see the concept of a biorefinery as a vehicle through which Scotland can deliver its ambitions to be a location of choice for sustainable high-value manufacturing for chemical and pharmaceutical businesses.”

In developing the Biorefinery Roadmap, a number of priority areas of opportunity have been identified to form the base of the path forward, and will grow to generate significant supply chain prospects for both local and international companies. Identified areas of opportunity for Scotland include:

  • Feedstock opportunities – The bio-fraction of household, commercial and industrial waste is considered to be the greatest opportunity for biorefining feedstocks in Scotland, as well as forest co-products and in the longer term, macroalgae.
  • Technology platforms – Scotland’s strengths are in industrial biotechnology, chemical synthesis and material science amongst others. To support the development of a biorefining sector, Scotland aims to address current gaps in the pilot and demonstration stages.
  • Products –The development of products which are competitive on price and functionality is essential and Scotland will focus on developing product value propositions and integrated supply chains.

The report includes a foreword by Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, who urges business to “take serious consideration to biorefining in order to benefit from this fast-growing, innovative and burgeoning sector.”


To download the full report, please click here.


Notes to editors

Definition of Biorefining – the integrated production of materials, chemicals, fuels and energy from biomass, and the application of bioprocesses (including biocatalysts) for the production of multiple product streams.

Examples of organisations/companies active in the biorefining space in Scotland:

Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre

Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) – Based in Scotland, the IBioIC is a unique facility relevant to all industry sectors of IB and promotes collaboration within industry and academia to drive innovation, find commercial application for new technology and ideas, and offers support for projects that bring biotechnology closer to industrialisation. Operating since January 2014, IBioIC has the full and strong support of fourteen Scottish Higher Education Institutions, and industrial companies ranging from start-ups to multi-national corporations covering all four colours of Industrial Biotechnology. IBioIC supports the National Plan for IB and is looking to invest in projects that further build Scotland’s bio-refining capabilities. For more information, visit


CelluComp is a dynamic material science company based in Scotland that develops high performance products based on sustainable resources. The company’s principle activity is to develop and commercialize Curran®, a material developed from the extraction of nano-cellulose fibres of root vegetables.

Celtic Renewables

Celtic Renewables – Celtic Renewables Ltd is an innovative start-up company formed to commercialise a process for producing a superior next generation biofuel (and other high value sustainable products) from the by-products of biological industries, with the initial focus being the high volumes of problematic process residues of the Scotch Whisky Industry. The process technology has been validated at pilot commercial scale through a partnership with the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, and the next stage for Celtic Renewables will be to establish a commercial scale demonstration plant in Scotland which will be a process exemplar to enable the process technology to be expanded and replicated at full commercial scale globally.


Ingenza – Worldwide leaders in the application of industrial biotechnology and synthetic biology, Ingenza provides efficient scalable bioprocesses to manufacture chemicals, biologics, pharmaceuticals and biofuels, from sustainable sources. Regarding Scotland’s position in the biorefining landscape, Ingenza’s Managing Director Dr Ian Fotheringham said:

“Scotland is uniquely blessed with abundant non-food biomass on land and under our seas. Together with our strong industrial biotechnology capabilities in both academia and industry Scotland is well positioned to capitalise on the massive potential that biorefineries could contribute to the development of a more sustainable economy.”


About Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Our role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. We support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. We also work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.


Susan McMullan
Scottish Enterprise
Phone: 01382 305573
mobile: 07710878012


Scottish Enterprise, press release, 2015-02-12.


Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC)
Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum (IBLF)
Ingenza Ltd
Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism (SC)
Scottish Enterprise


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