Revival of sugar beet could be key crop for Scotland’s bioeconomy

November 25, 2021 |

In the UK, growing sugar beet in Scotland and processing the crop at a purpose-built biorefinery facility initially producing bioethanol could support thousands of jobs and make a significant contribution to the country’s net zero ambitions, according to a study funded by Scottish Enterprise and produced by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC).

The report found that at least 815 jobs could be directly created by moving towards domestically produced bioethanol as a sustainable feedstock for manufacturing, along with hundreds more through associated supply chain and logistics services.

Sugar extracted from sugar beet can be used in the production of ethanol as a natural and sustainable substitute for petroleum-based chemicals used in a range of household goods, as well as antibiotics, therapeutic proteins, and for transportation.

Such a project would also safeguard many of the 11,000 jobs in Scotland’s chemicals industry, which is increasingly moving towards alternatives to fossil fuels, and create new roles in the burgeoning biotechnology sector – many of which would likely be in rural and deprived areas. 

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Category: Fuels

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