Wales scores £4.1 million for bioeconomy program

October 28, 2019 |

In the UK, the Counsel General and Brexit Minister visited Aberystwyth University last week to open the new Bio-refining Centre and Seed Biobank buildings at the University’s Innovation and Enterprise Campus.

The minister who is responsible for EU funding in Wales announced a £3.7 million EU investment to extend the award-winning BEACON bio economy program, led by Aberystwyth University, until 2022.

This funding enables the University of South Wales to join Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea Universities as a new partner, bringing further knowledge and expertise to the project, and widening the benefits to cover the whole of Wales, and beyond.

The BEACON team brings business and academic partners together to translate research into product innovation. Physical, chemical and biological technology will be used to transform resources derived or grown in Wales, like plants and biological wastes, into commercial, useful end products including plastics, renewable materials, fuels and specialty chemicals through bio-refining.

Through the project, energy crops like rye, a high-sugar grass, can be transformed into biofuels, while derivatives of plants and micro-organisms can be re-purposed to create chemicals or building materials for use in the pharmaceutical, transportation, eco-construction, energy and healthcare economies.

In addition to Aberystwyth University’s research into bio-refining, Bangor University will work on biobased plastics and packaging, , Swansea University will continue their work in Life Sciences, and the University of South Wales will focus on research into larger scale digestion and fermentation of plant matter by bacteria and fungi within the bio-refining process.

An additional £440,000 EU funds will expand the BEACON project across Wales, tackling specific local challenges, while connecting new partners and making full use of region-specific natural resources.

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