How our research is fuelling the biorenewables revolution

Our pioneering research is helping local industries convert plants and biowastes into high value products.


The University’s Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) has worked with over 150 businesses bridging the gap between laboratory development and commercial manufacture.

Drawing on the expertise of our internationally renowned scientists at the University’s Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) and the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE), the BDC has helped businesses explore ways to develop products sourced from plants, microbes or waste - rather than fossil-based resources such as oil and coal.


The BDC works with regional businesses on a wide range of bioeconomy-based projects including examining ways to convert agricultural waste into biofuel, identifying higher value products derived from anaerobic digestion and testing the antimicrobial properties of a soothing gel derived from bee hives.

Now, our ground-breaking bio-science expertise is set to play a key role in the development of the BioVale innovation cluster. BioVale is establishing Yorkshire and the Humber as an international centre for bio-based research and development, stimulating sustainable economic growth and encouraging inward investment.

BioVale also acts as a gateway to bioeconomy projects and businesses worldwide. The founding partners are CNAP and GCCE, as well as the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera); City of York Council; SCY (formerly Science City York); and Askham Bryan College.

Dr Joe Ross, BDC director and one of BioVale’s founders said: “Yorkshire is one of the country’s most important and innovative agricultural areas and has a wide range of bio-based industries. Combined with the University’s outstanding research expertise, this means the region is perfectly placed to lead the drive towards renewable bio-based products and processes.”

BioVale Centre

One of the first major developments under the BioVale banner is a new business and research centre planned for a site on the University campus at Heslington East. The BioVale Centre will provide laboratories alongside space for fledgling bio businesses. The building will also provide a new home for the Biorenewables Development Centre, bringing a comprehensive range of open access scale up and analytical equipment and business development under one roof. The project aims to create new jobs, train the workforce of tomorrow and support the development of the region’s bio-based economy.

Dr Ross said: “Many of the businesses we have worked with have expressed an interest in establishing a presence in the new BioVale building. There are clear advantages to sharing a base adjacent to a world-leading source of academic expertise while also being close to other similar bioeconomy-based businesses. The BioVale Centre and the wider BioVale initiative as a whole will be catalysts for some exciting new developments in a growing global bioeconomy market.”

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The region is perfectly placed to lead the drive towards renewable bio-based products and processes.”

Dr Joe Ross
Director of the Biorenewables Development Centre
Featured researcher
Dr Joe Ross

Dr Joe Ross

Director of the Biorenewables Development Centre

He has over 20 years university R&D laboratory and management experience working primarily on the development of novel plant varieties.

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