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Integrated Energy Efficient Microwave and Unique Fermentation Processes for Pilot Scale Production of High Value Chemicals from Lignocellulosic Waste Funding (IBCat)


EPSRC 2016-2020

‌Research Team

Professor James Clark, Dr Avtar Matharu, Dr Alice Fan, Dr Javier Remon Nunez, Dr Hannah Briers

External Collaborators

University of Bath (fermentation process, yeast development and Life Cycle Assessment)


To meet key climate change targets, while providing sustainable economic growth, the UK must develop a robust bioeconomy. This requires the valorisation of UK-specific and abundant waste lignocelluosic streams. Currently, the expense and inefficiency of the multi-stage acid pre-treated depolymerisation and enzymatic process has limited the growth in this sector. 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. While the inhibitors formed in the process limit the growth of most yeasts, the robust yeast Metschnikowia pulcherrima (Mp) thrives on this feedstock to produce valuable 2-phenylethanol, arabinitol and lipids. This project aims to develop a pilot scale multi-product biorefinery by coupling these breakthroughs in low energy biomass treatment and unique fermentation to produce marketable compounds.


Researcher working with microwave.