Integrated Energy Efficient Microwave and Unique Fermentation Processes for Pilot Scale Production of High Value Chemical from Lignocellulosic Waste

Project: Research council

Project Details


To meet key climate change targets, while providing sustainable economic growth, the UK must develop a robust bioeconomy. This requires the valorisation of UK-specific and abundant waste lignocelluosic streams. Currently, the expense and inefficiency of the multi-stage acid pre-treated depolymerisation and enzymatic process has limited the growth in this sector. Recently, we reported an innovative one-step microwave (MW) process for the depolymerisation of bio-wastes. This key enabling technology achieves high sugar yields despite low energy inputs. While the inhibitors formed in the process limit the growth of most yeasts, the robust yeast Metschnikowia pulcherrima (Mp) thrives on this feedstock to produce valuable 2-phenylethanol, arabinitol and lipids. This project aims to develop a pilot scale multi-product biorefinery by coupling these breakthroughs in low energy biomass treatment and unique fermentation to produce marketable compounds.
Effective start/end date1/03/1631/01/21


  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

RCUK Research Areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemical engineering
  • Process engineering
  • Bioprocess Engineering
  • Design of Process systems
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Manufacturing Machinery & Plant


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