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Revolutionising Dairy Waste: Activatec and BDC Receive Innovate UK's Support

Activatec, a leading biotech company, and the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC), an open-access Research, Development and Demonstration biorefining centre have announced a new collaboration, supported by Innovate UK. The focus of this partnership is to transform industrial waste, specifically dairy waste streams, into valuable eco-friendly resources for the cosmetic, food, pharmaceutical, and chemical sectors.

Project Focus: Revolutionising Waste, Creating Wealth

The collaboration aims to convert underutilized dairy waste, particularly whey and whey permeate, into valuable resources. Despite the annual production of millions of tonnes, these resources often end up being discharged into sewage. With the support of Innovate UK, the collective goal is to accelerate the development of a sustainable bioprocess, redefining the way industrial waste is perceived and utilised.

Jose Molto-Marin, Activatec said

This collaboration represents a transformative moment not only for our companies but for the industry as a whole. Together with the BDC and the support of Innovate UK, Activatec is redefining the way industrial waste is perceived and utilised, paving the way for a more sustainable future.

Activatec logoBDC logo masters

Introducing Bio-lactobionic Acid (LBA): A Game-Changer in Multiple Industries

Central to the project is lactobionic acid (LBA), a highly effective anti-aging and moisturising cosmetic ingredient with versatile applications in cosmetics, food, pharmaceuticals, and the chemical sector. This collaboration pioneers an innovative end-to-end bioprocess for LBA production.

Why It Matters: Eco-Friendly, Sustainable, and Economically Rewarding

Activatec and BDC, with Innovate UK's support, are collaborating to revolutionize industrial waste utilisation. Focusing on dairy waste, especially whey and whey permeate, the initiative aligns with consumer preference for 'organic,' 'natural,' 'green,' and 'environmentally sensitive' products. By adopting environmentally friendly manufacturing methods, the collaboration contributes to a sustainable food system, utilising substantial annual whey production in the UK.

The technology employed involves fermentation and downstream processing to convert dairy waste into lactobionic acid (LBA), offering a cleaner alternative to the energy-intensive chemical synthesis of LBA. This not only addresses environmental concerns related to traditional methods but also signifies a crucial advancement towards a more sustainable and economically viable future. The initiative pioneers a greener and more efficient route for producing high-value products from industrial waste, marking a significant shift in the industry towards a more sustainable.

Darren Phillips, BDC said

Using our fermentation and downstream processing expertise to develop a product from a waste stream using a cleaner technology is an opportunity we were keen to be involved in. We are excited for the development of this very promising technology which aims to develop an environmentally friendlier and cheaper route to produce lactobionic acid for use in industries such as cosmetics, food and pharmaceuticals.

Innovate UK Acknowledgement

Activatec wishes to recognise and express gratitude to Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, for their invaluable support in making this project possible. Their funding and expertise is instrumental in driving our vision forward. 

About Innovate UK

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is creating a better future by inspiring, involving, and investing in businesses developing life-changing innovations. They provide targeted sectors with expertise, facilities, and funding to test, demonstrate, and evolve their ideas, driving UK productivity and economic growth. Innovate UK: inspiring business innovation.

Note for Editors: Activatec is a biotech company specializing in developing sustainable bioprocesses for the production of high-value products from renewable resources. BDC is open-access research, development and demonstration biorefining centre and a subsidiary of the University of York helping businesses develop, scale up, and commercialise bio-based processes and products. Innovate UK is the UK's innovation agency, funding and supporting businesses to develop and commercialise innovative ideas. For more information, please contact