UK: SABMiller to invest in £multi-million bioenergy project
27 January, 2009
SABMiller is to participate in a £27 million public-private research project into bioenergy.
SABMiller is to participate in a £27 million public-private research project into bioenergy.The global brewer will partner the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to find ways to create more renewable energy from the natural wastes of the brewing process.The investment, which is expected to generate advances in research through a new BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre, comprises money from the public and private sectors in what is the UK’s biggest single public investment in bioenergy development.If successful, the research could lead to a greater proportion of beer being brewed using green power. Because spent grain is available at each of its breweries, the technologies being investigated could be used around the world.The research will be led by Professor Katherine Smart, the SABMiller Chair of Brewing Science at the University of Nottingham – one of the six academic-industry hubs that make up the new Centre and which are receiving the BBSRC funding. Professor Smart’s work will also look at using other agricultural and wood-industry wastes as sources of biofuel. SABMiller CEO, Graham Mackay, said: “The benefits of biofuels have been somewhat obscured by the negative effects of purpose-grown crops. The development of sustainable biofuel could prove to be one of the most important contributors to solving the energy and climate challenges.”Minister of State for Science and Innovation, Lord Drayson, said: “Investing £27 million in this new centre involves the single biggest UK public investment in bioenergy research. The centre is exactly the sort of initiative this country needs to lead the way in transforming the exciting potential of sustainable biofuels into a widespread technology that can replace fossil fuels.”The BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre’s research activities will encompass many different stages of bioenergy production, from widening the range of materials that can be the starting point for bioenergy to improving the crops used by making them grow more efficiently. The Centre will also analyse the complete economic and environmental life cycle of potential sources of bioenergy to ensure that the whole system is economically and socially viable.