Gloucestershire-based company Green Fuels has been awarded funding under the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme for its project looking at repurposing waste from milk factories and breweries.
Scientists from the company say the bacteria found in wastewater from these industries can be harnessed to create microalgae, which in turn will help to boost yields of algae used in biomass. The team has developed technology to cultivate microalgal strains year-round, with two bioreactor systems developed to work in sunnier seasons and during the winter months respectively. The first system uses sunlight to operate, while the second uses the organic compounds in wastewater as a source of carbon.
The project has been dubbed MISTY, or the Microalgae Biomass Sustainability project, and has been said by the team to provide an environmentally sound way of closing the loop on otherwise toxic waste streams.
”Importantly, the MISTY process doesn’t use drinking-quality water or compete for land with food production,” Green Fuels chief strategy officer Paul Hilditch said, “while promising to increase the UK’s strategic biomass supply.”
The green group is collaborating with brewer Wadworth & Co to supply the beer wastewater.
“Wadworth and Company is excited to support Green Fuels in their research project, ‘MISTY’ under the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme,” said a spokesperson for the company. “We see this research as potentially beneficial in the longer term with the hope an industrial application would potentially bring innovative and or alternative low-cost wastewater treatment solutions to smaller breweries whilst helping to combat climate change.”
Established in 2014, Green Fuels Research was set up to investigate potential biofuel markets, and has to date received £12m in direct and indirect research grant funding. Most recently, the company was shortlisted under the Department for Transport’s Green Fuels, Green Skies competition for its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) project FIREFLY, using sewage sludge as feedstock for low-carbon jet fuel.