What does the BDC do?
The BDC provides industry with new processes to convert plants and biowastes into high value products. We bridge the gap between laboratory development and commercial manufacture by providing open access scale-up processing facilities.
What is the aim of the BDC?
The BDC aims to develop greener manufacturing technologies that use renewables and wastes as raw materials.
How does it differ from other renewables centres?
The BDC offers a unique combination of analytical science, fast track plant breeding and novel extraction and processing technologies. In addition, the scale of our equipment allows us to bridge the gap between laboratory development and commercial manufacture.
Does feedstock development include GM?
We are not against GM but mainly we use fast track breeding approaches that make use of the plant variety’s own genetic diversity – essentially we use genetic analysis to identify individual plants or microbes that contain particular versions of genes which make them more useful to us. In our experience this approach can have benefits over GM technologies, as they are much easier to bring to market from a regulatory perspective and public acceptance is much higher.
Who can use these facilities and on what basis?
Our facilities are open access – businesses and academics can use them. A limited amount of work can be funded through ERDF for companies with a base in Yorkshire and Humber. We are a not-for-profit company so all other work, including commercial work and production, is undertaken on an at-cost basis.
Wouldn’t it be better to reduce the amount of waste rather than spend money developing technology to re-use it?
It is not an either or situation. At the BDC we focus on optimising processes to reduce waste, but we also explore how unavoidable wastes can be used. Unavoidable wastes can include for instance: the outside leaves of a cauliflower, straw from grain production or spent yeast from brewing – these are not very nice to eat and are unavoidable.
How is your funded business support financed?
This work is paid for by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The funding is provided by the European Union, and administered in the UK by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Because our ERDF funding is regional, we can only assist Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Humberside. Click here for more information on ERDF.
I don’t think I qualify, can I still get funded business support?
If you do not meet the ERDF eligibility criteria, then the BDC cannot offer you ERDF funded business support. However, you can still work with us on a commercial basis. Give us a call to discuss your particular circumstances – in some cases we may also be able to help you apply for other sources of funding such as Innovation Vouchers, R&D Tax Credits or funding from UK support organisations such as the Technology Strategy Board to finance a project with us.
What is an SME?
A “Small or Medium Sized Enterprise” (SME) is a European Definition for the size of companies that BDC is able to assist under this ERDF scheme. The definition is quite complex, but in general to qualify for our funded support, your company must:
- Have less than 250 employees AND have a turnover less than €50m or a balance sheet less than €43m.
If your company is part of a group, then these limits apply to combined resources of the whole group. If your company has a shareholder which is not an SME, then that shareholding must be less than 25% for you to still qualify as a SME. If you need further guidance on this subject please contact us, or visit the website for more information.