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Reference Number BB/L013940/1
Title SBRC NOTTINGHAM: Sustainable Routes to Platform Chemicals
Status Completed
Energy Categories FOSSIL FUELS: OIL, GAS and COAL(CO2 Capture and Storage) 15%;
RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES(Bio-Energy, Production of transport biofuels (incl. Production from wastes)) 20%;
RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES(Bio-Energy, Production of other biomass-derived fuels (incl. Production from wastes)) 20%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields BIOLOGICAL AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES (Biological Sciences) 50%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Prof N (Nigel ) Minton
No email address given
Centre for Biomolecular Sciences
University of Nottingham
Award Type Research Grant
Funding Source BBSRC
Start Date 31 July 2014
End Date 30 July 2019
Duration 60 months
Total Grant Value £14,242
Industrial Sectors Transport Systems and Vehicles
Region East Midlands
Programme Synthetic Biology Research Centres (SBRC)
Investigators Principal Investigator Prof N (Nigel ) Minton , Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham (99.987%)
  Other Investigator Dr P (Peter ) Licence , Chemistry, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Prof J (John ) King , Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Dr J (Jamie ) Twycross , Computer Science, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Dr J (Jon ) Garibaldi , Computer Science, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Prof B (Brigitte ) Nerlich , Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Prof G (Greg ) Tucker , Biosciences, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Dr C (Chenyu ) Du , Biosciences, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Prof C (Charlie ) Hodgman , School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Dr S (Stephan ) Heeb , School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Dr K (Klaus ) Winzer , Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Dr Y (Ying ) Zhang , Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Prof D (Dave ) Barrett , School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Dr C (Cameron ) Alexander , School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Web Site
Objectives Trends in capital investment within the chemicals sector suggests that the bulk and speciality chemicals sectors, both of which have traditionally been strengths of the UK production industry, are following the pharmaceuticals sector to SE Asia. If the UK is to remain competitive across the Bulk and Speciality chemicals sectors we must forge a new generation of processes with intrinsic emphasis on efficiency, process integration and resource management. Developing technology platforms with a reduced dependence on traditional petroleum based materials is acknowledged as the only long-term solution to sustainability.
Looking at local market rationale for this SBRC proposition, the chemical-using industries continue to be one of the strongest sectors of the UK economy, employing 230,000 highly skilled people, spending £3.5 billion on R&D and the UK's top manufacturing export earner. Its products are the basis for almost every manufacturing activity. However, it is also energy-intensive and almost totally dependent on imported petroleum as its basic raw material. It is vulnerable to rising global oil prices and disruption to global oil supplies. This SBRC will strategically de-risk this reliance on petroleum, delivering supply chain security and reducing environmental.
Almost every major chemical company has set ambitious targets to lower their carbon footprint, or even to become carbon neutral. To achieve this there must be re-alignment from fossil fuel dependencies and efficient use of carbon in its simplest forms, specifically of C1 gases that may be generated as by-products from other existing processes (CO, CO2 and CH4).
Specifically Nottingham SBRC will deliver impact in the following sectors:
ECONOMY: Sustainability is the major issue facing the global chemical industry. Not only is there concern for our environment, there is also is a strong economic driver. Shareholders place emphasis on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index ( that tracks the performance of the chemicals industry and engenders competition. A commitment to responsible innovation, and the application of SynBio as a key platform to products will secure the UK lead in innovation and chemicals production.
PEOPLE: There is a clear and increasing demand for highly qualified technologists that are trained to lead innovation and manage the deployment of SynBio based techniques into industry. SBRC offers a market driven shared vision towards products and processes. SBRC will deliver highly skilled individuals via the SBRC linked DTC that will be well placed to influence and manage the required change to sustainable working practices across chemical manufacturing industries.
SOCIETY: The diverse range of products manufactured by the chemical-using industries is vital to maintaining a high quality of life in the UK, SBRC will have a direct impact on this activity by ensuring a supply of people and newknowledge to secu r e sustainability of the sector for the benefit of all. The green and sustainable agenda is now firmly fixed in the public consciousness, SBRC will be an exemplar of how scientists and engineers can provide real solutions to very challenging scientific and technical problems, for the benefit of society
KNOWLEDGE: In addition to increasing the supply of highly trained people, the results of research performed in our SBRC will have a major impact on knowledge. Via synthetic biology SBRC researchers will tackle big problems in sustainable chemistry, and via our industrial partners we will ensure that new knowledge is applied in industry. Knowledge based activity will drive innovation and economic activity for UK PLC creating new jobs and securing the future.
Abstract THE AIM:
SBRC Nottingham will focus on the sustainable and economically viable production of platform/speciality chemicals through SynBio-engineered, gas fermenting microbes capable of using single carbon (C1) feedstocks.
Much current attention is focused on deriving microbial production chassis for the sustainable production of chemicals and fuels. Until now, the emphasis has been on lignocellulosic fermentative processes that use non-food plant biomass. However, developing economic processes that efficiently convert plant material into the necessary sugar feedstock is proving challenging.
Nottingham's groundbreaking alternative approach is to use gas-fermenting microbes that are able to grow on C1 gases, such as CO and CO2. These may be derived from non-food sources such as waste gases from industry ( e.g., steel manufacturing, oil refining, coal and natural/shale gas) as well as 'synthesis gas' (CO & H2) produced from sustainable resources, such as biomass and domestic/ agricultural wastes. This enables a wide range of valuable advanced fuels and chemicals to be produced in any industrialized geography without consumption of valuable food or land resources.
Nottingham is already working on an anaerobic gas fermenting chassis with LanzaTech, Evonik, Lanxess and, through CPI, to a wider network of industrial companies. Building on this activity, the major SBRC thrust will be to develop a chassis for aerobic gas fermentations and to use it to implement pathways for chemicals that are more favourably produced in a respiring organism.
Ethylene, propylene, iso-butene, butadiene and isoprene make ideal nodes within the chemical network as their volatile nature simplifies extraction, they have huge industry demand and they provide the basis for a wide range of valuable downstream products such as fuels, tyres, high tech performance polymers/ coatings and personal care products and pharmaceuticals.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 15/12/14