- Aston University has won £1.8 million funding to spearhead the Biochar CleanTech Accelerator, aimed at transforming the West Midlands into a low-carbon bioproducts development and commercialisation hub.
- The initiative is projected to secure export contracts for low carbon products worth over £200 million, rejuvenating the region’s engineering and manufacturing stature.
- The technology developed will convert organic materials like sawdust, diseased trees, and dried chicken litter into commercially viable, sustainable bioproducts.
- The project, part of the West Midlands Innovation Accelerator, aims to facilitate new technology-based opportunities, leveraging the university’s Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) and Centre for the Circular Economy and Advanced Sustainability (CEAS).
- Aston University will also participate in two other projects within the West Midlands Innovation Accelerator, reinforcing the region’s position at the vanguard of the UK’s innovation revolution.
Aston University Spearheads Low-Carbon Bioproducts Development in the West Midlands
Aston University has been granted £1.8 million to lead the Biochar CleanTech Accelerator in the West Midlands, ushering in a new era of low-carbon product development and commercialisation. This initiative marks a significant step towards transforming organic waste materials into commercially valuable, sustainable bioproducts.
Organic Material Transformed into Sustainable Bioproducts
The CleanTech Accelerator is projected to secure over £200 million in export contracts for low-carbon products developed by a regional industrial cluster. Such initiatives invite West Midlands companies to form a cluster and contribute to the development of new low-carbon products for burgeoning markets.
Biochar, a sustainable form of charcoal, can be used as a soil and plant growth enhancer. It stores carbon in the ground, thus reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Other by-products, such as oils, can serve as low-carbon fuels for boilers and engines, while the liquid by-product can be used as a low-carbon weedkiller, fungicide, and plant growth promoter.
Reinvigorating West Midlands’ Engineering and Manufacturing Status
Tim Miller, Director of Engagement at the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI), shared, “This development harnesses long-term university research for environmental and regional economic benefits. Leveraging existing expertise and facilities, we are primed to capitalize on emerging technology-based opportunities.”
EBRI, along with the Centre for the Circular Economy and Advanced Sustainability (CEAS), forms the cornerstone of this project. The University’s innovative technology, installed at its urban biochar demonstrator in south Birmingham, will be instrumental in this endeavour.
Aston University’s Role in the West Midlands Innovation Accelerator
The Biochar CleanTech Accelerator, part of the West Midlands Innovation Accelerator, was first announced in the government’s 2022 Levelling Up White Paper. The program, funded through a £100 million grant from Innovate UK, is set to enhance investment in projects focusing on Medical and Clean Technologies.
Aston University will also play a significant role in two other projects beyond bioproducts within the West Midlands Innovation Accelerator, reinforcing the region’s innovation leadership within the UK. This substantial investment further cements the West Midlands as a frontier in the UK innovation revolution.