Please find below a list of terms commonly used in the biorenewables sector and their definitions – where possible we draw them from the Oxford English Dictionary, or credit them in brackets.


The bioeconomy encompasses the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy.


Organic material regarded as a source of fuel or other valuable chemicals – at the BDC we specialise in working with plant-based materials.


An industrial facility for the conversion of plant crops, organic waste, etc. into biofuels or other chemical products.


Waste material derived from living organisms or of organic origin (sewage, agricultural or forestry waste, etc.).

Circular economy

A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life. (WRAP)

Containment level 2 facilities

Our dedicated microbiology labs are equipped to enable work with biological agents in Hazard Group 2, according to the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP). Such microbes might include those able to cause human disease, environmental isolates etc.

Desk-based research

Exploration of published materials, such as white papers, academic papers and journals, to compile information on a certain topic. Often used as a first step when embarking on a new subject.

Fast-track plant breeding

An approach to develop new plants with improved traits (such as a higher yield of a medical compound) based on genetic analysis and high-throughput technologies to accelerate the process – not to be confused with genetic modification (GM).


Raw material supplied to a machine or processing plant, such as pulpwood to a paper mill.

Genetic analysis

An understanding of the DNA sequence of an organism, most usually microbe or plant for our work, and identifying how DNA sequences vary between similar organisms.

Green chemistry

Applied chemistry whose aim is to reduce or eliminate the use and generation of environmentally harmful substances in industrial processes, in agriculture, and in the life cycles of products.

Lab-based research

Practical work in a laboratory, in our case usually to explore the merits of a certain plant-based materials or waste for further use.


A small to medium-sized enterprise – see our FAQs for further details.

Waste valorisation

Creating economic value from materials traditionally perceived as wastes, such as orange peel.

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