How we are advancing bioprocessing research

Our innovative approach to biotechnology could save millions of pounds in funding and person-hours currently wasted on impractical technologies.

Our researchers are taking a new approach to product development in industrial biotechnology. We are moving away from the traditional, three-phase, linear method where a product often fails in the final stage. Instead, we are bringing in scale-up economic modelling and considering industrial and legal requirements in the first stage of discovery and development.

We are doing this by creating a framework based on the industrial needs of a process. This helps us identify the right product and use this framework to develop the organism and process from the start. We assess the wild type organism's behaviour at pilot scale. This gives us a good idea of its potential performance, as well as what is necessary to develop the species. Doing this early on in the process reduces the risk of later stage failure in our technologies.

A unique development cycle

Diagram of the development cycle
Our development cycle

Our iterative approach to the process development cycle brings together three stages that feed into one another.

Industrial applicability

  • technoeconomic modelling
  • process modelling
  • scalability
  • market drivers
  • regulatory restrictions

Process considerations

  • potential uses
  • availability of necessary feedstocks
  • efficiency requirements
  • upstream processing
  • downstream requirements

Discovery and development

  • bioprocessing
  • metabolic engineering
  • genetic engineering
  • directed evolution

Interconnected expertise

Our Centre's combined knowledge equips us to deliver an integrated biotechnology solution. We draw on our researchers' interconnected expertise across traditional boundaries. They work to develop integrated platform technologies that either adapt to new global needs or exploit new discoveries in any suitable area.

Our expertise spans the breadth of a process from life-cycle and technoeconomic assessment to process and supply chain modelling.

Biomass

  • plant science
  • biomass chemical analysis
  • feedstock mapping
  • systems modelling

Upstream processing

  • fractionation
  • thermochemical depolymerisation
  • mechanochemistry

Chemical processing

  • thermochemical processing of biomass
  • catalysis of bioresources
  • reaction engineering

Biological processing

  • bio-conversions
  • enzyme production
  • genetic and metabolic engineering
  • pharmaceutical synthesis
  • bacterial and yeast fermentation
  • cultured meat
  • regenerative medicine

Separations

  • membranes

Testing with end users

  • biopolymer
  • biofuels
  • biomaterials
  • pharmaceutical
  • food testing