UK-India collaboration tackles industrial waste

The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) is collaborating with six international partners on a biorefining project to reduce waste from sugar cane processing.

India is the world’s second largest producer of sugar, and the industry is one of the largest rural employers. However, with all this productivity comes significant industrial waste in the form of bagasse – the fibrous material left after crushing the sugarcane plant.

The project partners will extract valuable compounds from these by-products, so creating new revenue streams for the sugar producers and reducing reliance on petrochemicals. The team will share knowledge and expertise to develop ways of producing renewable chemicals (such as citric acid) and bioenergy as part of a £1.8M-project, sponsored by the Newton-Bhabha Fund. If successful, the partners expect to provide enough proof-of-concept data to attract further investment for scaling-up these pilot-scale methods to commercial manufacture.

The additional partners are Jesmond Engineering, Prozomix and Wilson Bio-Chemical in the UK; as well as the International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology in India.