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University of York opens new center for development of green chemicals

Britain's University of York opened thelb2.5 million Biorenewables Development Center yesterday.

The facility, funded by the U.K.'s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the European Regional Development Fund, aims to be a headquarters for the development of renewable chemicals.

The facility will combine techniques in modern genetics, green chemistry and processing methods to produce high value chemicals and products from plants, microbes and biomass.

The university said the development center will bridge the gap between the laboratory and industry, providing companies and the academe with a way to test, develop and scale up bio-refining.

The facility will help industries to make a shift from petroleum-based chemicals to renewable feedstock, since many are looking for and identifying alternatives, said B.D.C. Director Joe Ross in an interview with CNN.

During the inauguration of the new facility, Business Secretary Vince Cable, said it could help the U.K. to be a key player in the green chemicals market.

"It will also help U.K. companies to access and capitalise on the global growth potential from these new technologies and products," he added.

Researchers at the center have already begun several green chemistry projects, including collaborating with a small company to covert industrial waste to renewable chemicals using specially-developed strains of the mould Aspergillus. – EcoSeed Staff

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