The British and Norwegian governments are to work together to support nine new research and development projects that will drive innovation in high-value chemicals through industrial biotechnology and bio-refining. The project came about following a scoping study by the NNFCC, which identifed the opportunities for collaboration between the two countries.
Now, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has offered grant funding of more than £1.8 million to nine UK-led projects and four of these will also be supported by Innovation Norway, which is providing additional funding of £0.4 million to the Norwegian businesses that are taking part.
David Bott, Director of Innovation Programmes at the Technology Strategy Board, said: “Industrial biotechnology can help the chemical industry move away from a dependency on oil to a future based on renewable and biological substances. Through these projects we are helping innovative British businesses to develop early-stage biotechnology projects into pilots and to turn pilots into commercially viable processes.”
“The enthusiasm shown by UK organisations to work internationally and, in this case, partner with Norwegian companies, demonstrates that international collaboration can bring exciting project opportunities for UK business,” he added. The four full-scale collaborative R&D projects will be led by Chirotech Technology Ltd (two projects), Ingenza Ltd and Unilever. The five feasibility projects will be led by Aquapharm Biodiscovery Ltd, Biocatalysts Ltd, Centre for Process Innovation Ltd, C-Tech Innovation Ltd and GlycoMar Ltd.
The projects will look at how industrial biotechnology and/or biorefining can be competitively applied to the production of high value chemicals and will see collaboration between industrial biotechnology developers, higher education institutions and the chemicals sector. The sector is growing by nearly 10 per cent each year and the range of applications for renewable chemicals continues to expand. To take advantage of the growing opportunities in the renewable chemicals sector and for more information on the consultancy offered by the NNFCC contact Dr Adrian Higson, Head of Biorefining at the NNFCC.