UK’s CPI receives infrastructure investment to support industrial biotechnology

UK-based Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) has secured funding of £896,000 (€1m) for state of the art equipment to be installed within the industrial biotechnology and biorefinery facilities at Wilton, UK.

 The targeted investment of £538K from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is matched with £358K of UK Catapult funding to stimulate regional economic development.

The new capability will support the commercialisation of innovations from small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in three main areas; fermentation, product isolation and analytics.

All equipment is scaled and modelled to reflect the existing pilot plant assets at CPI’s National Industrial Biotechnology Facility to provide greater confidence and mitigate the risks associated with taking innovations from the laboratory to commercial operation.

The addition of multiple small scale reactors (mL to 1L) within CPI fermentation lab will allow CPI to perform characterisation studies of industrial microbes with a greater efficiency, accuracy and higher throughput.

Isolating products following industrial biotechnology processes can contribute up to 70% of production costs. Being able to design and test this on scaled down equipment will enable full process design and testing with reduced investment needs.

Analytics investment will give CPI the ability to collect and assess data which is central to being able to perform process development. These assets expand the capacity of the analytical facility to support the new fermentation and product isolation capability.

This award will allow CPI to significantly upgrade capability to de-risk process development and scale-up/down projects, the organisation said. The new equipment will be installed during 2017 and provide employment for 3 full time research posts to support this new state-of-the-art equipment.

Kris Wadrop, director of industrial biotechnology and biorefining at CPI, said: ‘”This investment validates the continued development of the UK Bioeconomy Strategy and CPI’s central position to support its implementation.

“Combining this investment with CPI’s existing skills, knowledge and capability provides a fantastic launchpad for companies to implement their Industrial Biotechnology strategies”

Welcoming the announcement, Councillor Sue Jeffrey, Tees Valley Combined Authority Board Member and Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “This is fantastic news, both for CPI itself and Tees Valley as a whole. It will further support CPI and its clients to invest in new products, creating jobs, boosting the local economy and cementing Tees Valley’s place at the heart of innovation.”

This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight and Biofuels International

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