P2P - A Network of Integrated Technologies

Project: Research council

Description

The main aim of this project is to bring together a critical mass of academic and industrial partners to address the global challenges involved in the sustainable production of chemicals and materials from plants, agricultural co-products and agri-industrial residues. This will be achieved by creating a Network of scientists, industrialists, social scientists, life cycle analysts and stakeholders from feedstock supply to production industries in order to define bottlenecks and barriers to biorefining from technical, logistical and socio-economic perspectives. Through an initial scoping meeting, members of the Network will identify the key obstacles and areas where improvement is required, and the cross-disciplinary strategies needed to address this, in order to progress the field. Through the targeted funding of small "Proof of Concept" studies, information will be generated which will enable Network members to develop targeted robust proposals to bid into larger funding programmes with preliminary data and an established inter-disciplinary base to work from.
In addition to Proof of Concept studies, the Network will operate as a central source of information (e.g. via the website), a voice for sustainable production of chemicals from plants and a promoter of Network activities. The website will provide, information about network research activities, a directory of members and their areas of research expertise and relevant funding opportunities and conferences. The Network will support training of PhD students and PDRAs to promote the development of a skill base in the IB area. Through Network showcases and defined Impact activities, we will promote the objectives and achievements of the Network, actively champion the benefits of sustainable production of chemicals and materials from plants and become the first port of call for advice to companies, policy-makers and the international scientific community. In the latter respect, we will be actively seeking to create links and engage members in UK, EU and wider international programmes. Indeed, the success of the Network may ultimately be judged by these outcomes.
Ultimately this network will have a role in delivering a sustainable UK bio-economy through integrated biorefining pipelines, maximising product streams from feedstocks and increasing production efficiency, there by stimulating economic growth and job creation.

Technical Summary
We propose to run a Network focusing on the conversion of plant material, including agricultural by-products and agro-industrial co-products to chemicals and materials. The aim is to overcome barriers to biorefining of feedstocks by optimisation of multi-stream processes through integration of disciplines and exploitation of emerging technologies. In order to do this we have assembled a scientific management group which has expertise across the biorefinery process chain, including industrialists, and a strategy management group comprised of industrialists and other stakeholders (suppliers and end-users), together with an multidisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, modellers, social scientists, environmental and life cycle analysts, which comprises the initial Network.
We believe that the route to tackling current technical and commercial bottlenecks in developing a sustainable process for producing chemicals from biomass based renewables lies in effective communication between disciplines. Therefore, the initial activities of the network will focus on a desk-based scoping study and meeting to establish the capabilities and perceptions of the Network and the focal points that we need to address. This will be followed up with a call for funding of Proof of Concept projects to address the key issues, ideally in an inter-disciplinary manner. These projects will be highly targeted and funded in 3 waves, allowing the second wave to address issues under-represented in the first wave of awards and, if necessary, the final tranche to be used for commissioning specific projects.
The purpose of this exercise is to provide the necessary information, contacts and skills to be able to be effective in applications for further funding through eg Catalyst, 20/20 Horizon and similar national and international programme. This strategic approach has the potential to make a step change in biorefinery processes, benefitting the UK economy and employment in the IB sector.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date28/01/1828/01/19

Funding

  • BBSRC