- A new Biorefinery Centre has been opened at the Institute of Food Research, which will be used to explore new ways of making use of left over plant material from agriculture and food processing.
- One of the main facilities will be a steam explosion pilot plant, which will be used to blow plant cell walls apart. The process extracts natural materials trapped in the walls of straw and woody plants. These can then be treated to produce bio-ethanol.
- This bio-alcohol technology will be tested by Lotus – one of the project collaborators – for use in bi-fuel and tri-fuel engines. The project will use many waste products including brewer spent grain, unused oilseed rape and wheat straw, hemp and waste cereal grain from milling.
Government may wish to consider the facility which presents a new opportunity to find improved uses for waste plant material, which would not compete with food production. The added benefit of using bio-alcohol is that existing engines can be easily adapted to run on it and existing distribution methods can be used.
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