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Wealth Out of Waste

How can plant waste be used to develop novel materials and products by utilising natural mechanisms in a solid-state biorefinery?


This highly adventurous piece of research will encompass nine seperate research strands, all with the basic aim of using natural mechanisms to break down natural products in order to make useful chemical structures for high value products. It is a multidisciplinary three-year project involving Warwick HRI, Chemistry, and WMG, with input from Microbiology, Business and Economics. It is also envisaged that a wide spectrum of industrial partners will be involved in the later stages of the programme.


To understand microbial growth and enzyme activity for optimal product releaseDevelop new protocols for the extraction, purification and potential modification of useful compounds

To gather information critical for evidence based policy making regarding the future development of biorefinery systems, i.e. large centralised facilities versus a distributed systemTo generate a number of follow-on, industrially supported projects

Expected Outcomes

Benefits to Society:
The results of this project could greatly reduce industrial process emissions and create new products that benefit society as a whole.

Benefits to Industry:
By using natural mechanisms to break down natural products, i.e. plant waste, this project could increase agricultural revenues.
There could also be substantial impact upon areas such as pharmaceuticals, composites, polymers, fuels and a huge range of end-user applications.
It is expected that a number of patents, both process and materials based, will be generated.

Warwick on Wheels