Food production waste has biofuel potential

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cereal, Carbohydrate, Cell wall

The UK Institute of Food Research (IFR) is working with several other partners including Lotus cars to explore the potential uses of residual food production and agriculture material – including the prospect of producing biofuel with a low-carbon footprint.

Spent grain from a brewery, unused rape and wheat straw, hemp and waste cereal grains from milling will be processed at the plant.

Researchers will use a steam explosion pilot plant to blow apart plant cell walls and extract sugars, which will then be treated with yeast and fermented to produce bio-alcohol.

This can then be tested by Lotus in their bi-fuel and tri-fuel engines, before the commercial viability of the materials produced is be tested for different sectors.

“Once the food part of the crop has been exploited, there is a mass of plant material left behind that is often discarded as waste,” said IFR's Professor Keith Waldron.

“With the launch of the pilot plant and through collaborations on the Norwich Research Park we have all the expertise necessary to help industry explore ways to make use of it.”

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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