Advanced biofuels and biorefineries

The world is moving away from fossil fuels towards more sustainable sources of energy and chemicals. Yorkshire and the Humber is playing a leading role in this transition, with pioneering companies, world-leading research and open-access scale-up facilities, all developing advanced biofuels and biorefineries.

Woody residues can be the source of more sustainable biofuels

Most of the UK’s existing biofuel industry is based here.

  • Drax in Selby is Europe’s largest biomass-fuelled power station, burning wood pellets to produce 17% of the UK’s renewable energy.
  • Vivergo is one of Europe’s largest bioethanol producers, capable of meeting up to a half of the UK’s current demand.
  • Greenergy’s manufacturing plant at Immingham converts used waste oils and fats into biodiesel and is one of the largest facilities of its kind in Europe.

Our universities are home to cutting-edge research and training on advanced biofuels.

  • At the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products in York, scientists are using their knowledge of plant cell walls to develop advanced liquid biofuels, made from woody plants and crop residues.
  • Energy 2050 at Sheffield is one of the UK’s largest energy research institutes and is working to develop new sources of biodiesel.
  • The University of Leeds is offering 50 bioenergy studentships over the next five years to train the next generation of innovators and leaders in this sector.

The region is playing a key role in the development of biorefineries, where biomass is converted into a range of chemicals, materials and energy.

  • The Lignocellulosic Biorefinery Network, run from York, is a national network of academic and industrial partners working to develop biorefineries based on woody (lignocellulosic) materials.
  • The Biorenewables Development Centre offers expertise and access to its biorefining facilities to test and scale-up innovations. It is one of five members of BioPilotsUK.

Home to biofuel and biorefinery expertise and innovation in the private sector

  • Wilson Bio-Chemical has invented a ground-breaking process for converting unsorted municipal solid waste into energy and other products.
  • Leeds company Perlemax is developing microbubble technology to improve the growth and harvesting of algae for biofuel production.
  • The National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC) is a technical consultancy that has worked closely with the International Energy Agency and EU projects to develop the biorefinery sector.

Download our review at the bottom of this page. If you want to access the region’s biofuel and biorefinery innovation, contact us.