Case studies

Our case studies

Read how we are working with a wide range of companies to help develop, scale-up and commercialise bio-based products and processes.  

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Carrot flower

OtherBio-based chemicalsRaw materials characterisation

Bringing to life a project idea through the EPSRC Mobility DTP

Having observed at work that a number of promising project ideas needed to be parked due to lack of time or lack of funding, Darren saw this DTP as an opportunity to bring one of those unexplored project ideas to life as a research proposal for this programme.

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Earthbound Scientific equipment

OtherDesk-based support

Facilitating customer discovery for Earthbound Scientific

The BioVale team at the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) has helped the University of York spin-out company, Earthbound Scientific identify groups of potential new customers for their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) monitoring technology.

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Bax botanics

Food and drinkProduct evaluation

Developing innovative alcohol-free drinks for new markets

Using organic and ethically sourced plant-distilled ingredients such as lemon, herbs, verbena and sea buckthorn extracts, West Yorkshire based SME, Bax Botanics produces high-quality alcohol-free, gin-like soft drinks that are traditionally distilled in beaten copper alembics for the purest flavour.

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Food and drinkDesk-based support

Helping products from the hive reach new markets

A desk-based piece of work has helped Bayview Bees develop ideas for new products and improve their packaging for existing products.

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Bio-energyProduct evaluation

Increasing performance of biogas outputs with enzyme additives

To assist Verdant Biotech in advising their clients we have conducted a series of lab trials to assess the performance of Biopract enzymes on biogas outputs.

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Pete in the PDU lab

Food and drinkBio-based chemicalsProcessingDownstream processingProduct evaluation

Developing novel encapsulation methods for improving nutrients

We have worked with Starbons to optimise their multi kilogram pilot operations to help increase the shelf life of food products.

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Sugarcane plant in India

Raw materialsFood and drinkBio-based chemicalsSystem developmentProcessingDownstream processing

UK-India collaboration successfully tackles industrial waste from sugarcane processing in India

Scientists in the UK and India have successfully come together to take a major by-product of the sugarcane industry and turn it into the valuable bio-based chemical, citric acid.

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Working with Ellers distillery

Food and drinkSystem developmentProduct evaluationProcessingDownstream processing

Supporting sustainable distilling in the heart of Yorkshire

The BDC has helped Ellers Farm Distillery to understand routes to reuse and recycle biowaste generated by the distillery. .

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Resized UoY_BioYork_Science Imagery - January 2022 - Alex Holland-78

Raw materialsFood and drinkRaw materials characterisation

Developing sustainable nitrogen for agriculture

Working with Simpson York Ltd and the Biorenewables Development Centre, Azotic Technologies have designed a bespoke lab and office facilities that will represent their global research and development going forward.

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Bio-based chemicalsSystem developmentProduct evaluation

High performance bioplastic that can help combat climate change

The Biorenewables Development Centre worked with Floreon to perform pilot-scale testing of the chemical recycling of their base PLA (polylactic acid) material.

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Food and drinkRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Turning the humble potato into high-value plant-based food ingredient

The proof-of-concept project with the University of York Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE) evidenced the feasibility of extracting the protein from potatoes.

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Food and drinkRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Unravelling complexity of flavour and aroma compounds in cold brew coffee and tea

The FITCH Brew team collaborated with the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) to identify and improve the flavour and aroma compounds in a wide range of their cold brew coffee and tea drinks.

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Raw materialsRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Exploring a hidden value of mining waste

The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) team performed a comprehensive analysis of bioleachate nutrients and tested the bioleachate’s potential for use as a biofertiliser and pesticide.

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Food and drinkProduct evaluationProcessingDownstream processing

Decoding flavour and aroma compounds in hand-crafted vinegar products

The Slow Vinegar Company has enlisted the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) to identify the flavour profiles of its vinegar range.

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Bio-based chemicalsSystem developmentProduct evaluation

New biomaterials combat hard-to-heal wounds

Io-Cyte has enlisted the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) to undertake an anti-microbial challenge study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Io-Cyte material against the most common microbial pathogens found in wounds.

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Bio-based chemicalsOtherProduct evaluationDesk-based support

A soapy Yorkshire producer turns their handmade square soap bar, into a thriving circular business

With Clara’s strong business vision, backed by a dedicated production team and some Yorkshire grit, this winning combination has seen Cosy Cottage Soap transition from its roots at the kitchen table to the successful and thriving skincare brand it is today. Ongoing support from BioVale and funded processing support from the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC), has helped to accelerate this growth.

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Raw materialsBio-based chemicalsBio-energyProduct evaluation

Turning grass to gas

To assist STRI in advising their clients, the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) has analysed biogas yields using biomethane potential analysis (an anaerobic batch system that monitors gas production throughout a 30-day trial), as part of the BDC’s Bioeconomy Growth Programme.

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Raw materialsBio-based chemicalsBio-based constructionProduct evaluation

Parblex®: from food waste to bioplastics

Chip[s] Board is a London-based producer of revolutionary bioplastics and bioplastic composites made from the food we leave behind. The company was awarded funding from the KTN Spark Awards to work with the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) to investigate the use of agri-food residues and side streams for their bioplastic production.

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Food and drinkOtherDesk-based support

On a mission to end food poverty in UK schools

Rethink Food spoke at a webinar hosted by the Biorenewables Development Centre and BioVale about one of their three initiatives: Rethink Food Futures.

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Raw materialsFood and drinkBio-based chemicalsBio-energyBio-based constructionBio-based textilesRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluationSystem developmentPre-processingProcessingDownstream processing

THYME-funded projects address challenges for the bioeconomy

The BDC is playing a major role in the THYME project, which builds on the regional assets of Yorkshire, the Tees Valley and the Humber region to boost the productivity of companies operating in the bioeconomy sector.

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Food and drinkRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluationProcessingDownstream processing

Recycling compost liquor into organic plant feed

Plate2plate Compost was offered support from the Bioeconomy Growth Programme to investigate the properties of the liquor and its microbial load produced from their in-vessel composting systems.

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Food and drinkRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluationProcessing

Unlocking a secret behind flavours of organic kombucha

The team at Flower of Life enlisted the BDC to help them understand the microbial origin of the different flavours in their wide range of products and examine whether beneficial probiotic microorganisms were present.

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Raw materialsFood and drinkDesk-based support

Beekeeping blooming in Yorkshire

A one-day workshop on the craft of beekeeping was hosted in the BDC Bioeconomy Outreach Centre and was facilitated by the BioVale team in association with Abelo Ltd.

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Raw materialsFood and drinkDownstream processingProduct evaluation

From agricultural by-products to one of the UK’s first circular food & beverage brands

The team at Conscious Co, enlisted the support of the BDC to help with optimising the solid-liquid separation of the ‘leftover residual solids’ in the Potato Wort, before the fermentation stage.

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Bio-energyRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluationProcessing

Novel supplement boosts the biomethane production in anaerobic digestion reactors

The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) worked with Clayton Hall Farm Biogas Products Ltd to measure the effect of a novel additive on anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas output.

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Bio-energyRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluationProcessing

Novel microwave pre-treatment of feedstocks for anaerobic digestion

The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) worked with Advanced Microwave Technologies (AMT) on a new method of feedstock pre-treatment for an anaerobic digestion process.

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Bio-based chemicalsFood and drinkRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluationProcessing

New carbonaceous bio-based material for a variety of applications

Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) has been working collaboratively with the GCCE and their spin-out company, Starbon® Technologies to optimise and scale up a manufacturing process of Starbon® material.

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Bio-based chemicalsRaw materials characterisationProcessingProduct evaluation

Turning seaweed into everyday products

Researchers at the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) are involved in the implementation of a novel seaweed biorefinery – which is the whole process of refining sustainably cultivated seaweed biomass to become value-added end products.

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OtherFood and drinkRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluationProcessing

Making pharmaceuticals from food waste

The BDC and GSK identified potential new sources of glucose from food manufacturing, using starchy by-products such as bread heels and potato waste as a starting material.

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Bio-energyBio-based chemicalsRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluationProcessing

Getting added value from wood pellets

In an effort to make the most efficient use of the wood pellets it uses, Drax is working with the BDC and our colleagues at the University of York to explore how to get added value from its biomass before it is used for energy production.

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Bio-energyBio-based chemicalsRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluationProcessing

Turning potato starch into batteries for electric vehicles

Leitat, a renowned R&D centre, is leading a consortium of eight partners from across the EU on a four-year project to scale up a process for converting renewable resources (potato starch, alginic acid and fruit pectin) into a building block for energy storage and chemical catalysis.

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Raw materialsFood and drinkDesk-based supportProduct evaluation

Making use of wastes from food and drink production

On behalf of WRAP, the BDC collaborated with consultants from Green Gain and Lucid Insight, we have been assessing commercial opportunities for using wastes from bread, cider and cheese production as well as vegetable packing.

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Raw materialsOtherRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Using recycled plastic ‘planks’ to grow plants through hydroponics

Hydroblox Ltd explore the expansion of their product range for the horticulture sector, by using their material as a plant growth substrate in hydroponic systems.

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Raw materialsBio-based chemicalsRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

New crops for bio-based lubricants

Velcourt is a leading provider of farm business management and advisory services, with almost fifty years’ experience. Now they are collaborating with researchers and plant breeders to establish the commercial feasibility of a new type of oilseed rape (OSR) for use as an industrial lubricant in a three-year project.

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Raw materialsFood and drinkDesk-based support

Resource mapping for biorefining in Scotland

Together, Ricardo E&E and the BDC have delivered data for Zero Waste Scotland’s “Sector Study on Beer, Whisky and Fish” – highlighting the potential £800M boost these by-products can make to the Scottish economy.

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Novel processing technologies to develop naturally-derived insect repellents

Citrefine are looking to expand their product range and move into new over-seas markets. They approached the BDC for assistance reducing the scent of their active ingredient which had been identified as a barrier for certain market segments.

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Bio-based chemicalsBio-energyRaw materials characterisationPre-processingProcessing

Converting biomass into high-value chemicals

AET are seeking to diversify their technology and have been accessing expertise and technology at the BDC, converting agricultural waste materials into building blocks for biofuel production and using anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories from food waste in cosmetics and food products.

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Food and drinkProduct evaluation

Shelf-life implications of oil

NibNibs has been trialling rapeseed oil as a Yorkshire-grown alternative to the Mediterranean-grown olive oil. This trial presented some issues with shortened product shelf-life, causing a suspension in production and potential losses to the business.

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Raw materialsRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Growth trials for crop stimulants

BioElements are a manufacturer of natural products that stimulate plant development in commercially grown crops. They are a knowledge-based, research-intensive business that has the capacity to expand to new markets, strengthen the region’s reputation for novel agricultural products, and help tackle the issue of food scarcity.

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Bio-based textilesRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Revolutionising Nanofiber Filtration

A technical textile business using novel nanotechnology to develop high performance, recyclable textiles has benefited from capital funding from the Biorenewables Development Centre’s ERDF capital grants scheme.

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Raw materialsRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Seeds for growth

An award-winning landscaping supplier, who recently expanded its business with the purchase of a respected wildflower seed company, is drawing on the BDC’s expertise to help drive change in the horticultural industry by investigating the germination rates of seed varieties from several seed sources.

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Food and drinkRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Pets snaffling for more treats

Stunned by the explosive success of their luxury pet treats – made from locally sourced and animal welfare friendly products – the team behind The Innocent Pet Care Company found themselves running into capacity and product development constraints.

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OtherProduct evaluation

Cardboard cuts out waste

Researchers at the Biorenewables Development Centre are providing a supplier of fully recyclable products with the scientific know-how to develop a novel cardboard based product range suitable for outdoor and indoor use.

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Raw materialsSystem development

Helping green the energy market

Funding provided by the BDC’s ERDF capital grants scheme enabled Sciantec to invest in equipment that now allows them to capture and analyse the gas produced during the AD process to determine its quality.

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Food and drinkPre-processingProcessingDownstream processingProduct evaluation

Meaty opportunities from waste

Using novel processing equipment available at the BDC, Quorn is exploring new uses for by-products from their vegetarian food production process.

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Raw materialsSystem development

Cashing in the chips

A family-owned landscaping company in East Yorkshire is turning a low-value by-product – wood chippings – into a higher value source of fuel, using a novel production process developed with the technical and financial support of the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC).

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Bio-energyRaw materialsSystem development

High-value chemicals from household waste

The Wilson Bio-Chemical team has over 20 years’ experience in the waste industry, and has developed a process to convert waste materials into useful products by using steam in large rotating autoclaves.

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Bio-based chemicalsRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Bees fight bugs and win

A soothing gel, based on the glue used by bees to make their hives and embalm invaders, has been found to be effective in the treatment of mouth ulcers – with anti-microbial properties that could also help combat the increasingly antibiotic resistant superbug, MRSA.

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Bio-based chemicalsRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluationProcessing

The seeds of a new relationship

Working in collaboration with oil extraction specialists at York’s Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC), New Holland Extraction is exploring ways to enhance the value of its products and improve its productivity.

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Food and drinkRaw materialsRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Food waste for high value chemicals

The BDC is building a technology platform to help companies realise the potential of food waste as a source of valuable chemicals.

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Raw materialsProcessingDownstream processing

Extracting value from agricultural waste

Advanced Extraction Technology Ltd is an East Yorkshire SME specialising in using green technologies to extract natural chemicals from plant sources.

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Food and drinkRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Evaluation of microbrewery waste streams

The BDC have been working with regional microbreweries investigating avenues for adding value to their waste streams by analysing the materials and developing processes to separate the valuable chemicals.

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Alex and Rosie in the BIT lab

Bio-energyRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Novel technology for the treatment of biomass

The BDC worked with Aqua Enviro Ltd to test a novel technology for treatment of biomass used in anaerobic digestion.

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Bio-based chemicalsFood and drinkRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Optimising fungi for biorefining high value chemicals from industrial biowaste

The BDC is working with a small company, Citration Technology Ltd, to convert industrial waste streams into valuable chemicals using the fungus, Aspergillus niger.

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Bio-energyRaw materialsRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Added-value glycerine from biodiesel waste

Researchers from the GCCE have worked with Brocklesby Ltd to improve the quality of glycerine from biodiesel to achieve commercial specification product, thus converting a costly waste into a valuable product stream.

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Bio-based chemicalsRaw materialsProcessingRaw materials characterisation

Optimising industrial hemp for skin care

In a collaborative venture between CNAP and Boots the Chemist the full composition of hemp oil was analysed rigorously using state-of-the-art equipment and specialised analytical techniques.

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Bio-based chemicalsRaw materialsRaw materialsProcessing

High value renewable waxes from agricultural waste

Wheat straw, like many agricultural waste products, contains a range of valuable compounds. These include natural waxes with properties similar to industrial wax.

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Bio-based chemicalsRaw materialsProcessingRaw materials characterisation

Increasing yield of anti-malarial medicine through fast track plant breeding

The medicinal plant Artemisia annua is the primary source of the leading antimalarial, artemisinin. However the yield of the drug is very low making it expensive and unprofitable to produce.

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Bio-energyRaw materialsRaw materials characterisationProduct evaluation

Novel bioenergy pellets being developed to reduce Yorkshire’s carbon footprint and help its wildlife

Investigating the commercial production of sustainable, locally sourced materials, such as municipal and woodland waste, to produce biomass boiler pellets.

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