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Mapping the Development of UK Biorefinery Complexes, NNFCC 07-008

An overview of the potential for UK biorefinery development. In collaboration with Tamutech Consultancy. Literature review also available.

Author Dr W J Smith, Tamutech Consultancy
Published 20 Jun 2007
Industry Biorefining
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The development of new biofuels markets in the UK represents an important strategic element of government policy in transitioning to a future low carbon economy. Current fiscal incentives are now successfully facilitating a nascent UK biofuels sector.

However, the challenge of developing a truly sustainable biofuels economy that can deliver environmentally beneficial transport fuels to customers at low cost whilst providing an attractive financial return to manufacturers and investors remains daunting.

To achieve a step-change in the economics of biofuel production requires a radically different manufacturing capability such as that provided by the biorefinery concept. Based upon current manufacturing platforms in the oil and petrochemical sectors, future biorefineries will process large volumes of biomass feedstock to produce biofuels and a diverse suite of valuable co-products.

Large scale process integration will maximise both energy and materials conversion efficiencies and economies of scale will be exploited to deliver
capital efficiencies and cost effective co-production of value added chemicals. In contrast to oil refineries, the biorefinery will exploit state-of-the-art bioprocessing technologies in addition to the more conventional thermochemical processing routes.

This project set out to provide a platform for a coordinated activity on UK Biorefinery development and utilise roadmapping tools to map out the various critical pathways to achieve the successful implementation of these large manufacturing complexes. A comprehensive literature review was completed and revealed that considerable R&D activity is being focused on the development of enabling technology for deployment of biorefinery complexes.

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