Dr Avtar Matharu

01904 324187
Email: avtar.matharu@york.ac.uk

Dr Avtar Singh Matharu is Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE).  The GCCE is an internationally-leading academic facility for the provision of excellence in green and sustainable chemical technologies, processes and products.  He is External Examiner at Keele University for their Postgraduate Taught MSc in Environmental Science & Green Technologies and Section Editor for Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry (Elsevier).

Avtar specialises in gaining high additional chemical value from otherwise low-value resources or waste such as unavoidable food supply chain wastes, developing sustainable supply chains and circular economy within the context of biorefineries.  He is technology platform leader for Renewable Materials working on range of biomass related materials and applications (http://www.york.ac.uk/chemistry/research/green/research/renewable/)

Recent Research Projects

Innovate UK: Food processing and Manufacturing Efficiency

Transforming wet perishable food waste streams for high value human consumption (2013-2015, £583,103).  In collaboration with University of Nottingham, New Food Innovation, Molson Coors, Link2Energy, Naturis, Phytoquest, Chingford Fruits, Quorn Foods, Green Pea Company, Branston Ltd.

The project focuses on the innovative recovery and transformation of wet perishable process streams, such as peel, stalk, grain, and fruit waste,  into higher value functional and textural  ingredients for incorporation into food products.

Diagram of food waste processing

Technological solutions will be developed for stabilisation and manipulation of biproduct materials from key selected feedstocks, supported by a consortium with synergistic skills, representing the full supply chain.Investigations will involve innovative coupling of process steps and novel combination of transformed materials from different sources.


InnovateUK, BBSRC, EPSRC IB Cat: Round 3 Early stage translation

Integrated energy efficient microwave and unique fermentation processes for pilot scale production of high value chemicals from lignocellulosic waste (2016-2020, £3.2 M).  In collaboration with University of Bath and C-Tech Innovation Ltd, Croda, AB Agri.

Student loading a microwave reactor

Recently, we reported an innovative one-step microwave (MW) process for the depolymerisation of bio-wastes. This key enabling technology achieves high sugar yields despite low energy inputs. Though a range of inhibitors are also formed in the process which limit the growth of most yeasts, we have shown that the robust yeast Metschnikowia pulcherrima (Mp) thrives on this feedstock to produce valuable 2-phenylethanol, arabinitol and a microbial oil akin to palm oil. Therefore this project aims to develop a pilot scale multi-product process by coupling these breakthroughs in low energy waste treatment and unique fermentation to produce high value chemicals.