New feature for Research and Innovation Forum: state-of-the-art lab visit

We've today updated our programme for this year's Research and Innovation (R&I) Forum with a visit to the laboratories of the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) in York.

The R&I Forum will bring together the best of academia with the AD industry to discuss the latest research and how it will transform the industry over the coming years. This year we have teamed up with the Biorenewables Development Centre (BCD) to hold the event.   

BDC is a not-for-profit company, based at the University of York that helps businesses develop ways to convert plants, microbes and biowastes into profitable biorenewable products. Using cutting-edge science and technology, BDC bridges the gap between academia and industry to assist companies both in the development and scale up of new greener processes and products. In particular, they have significant expertise relevant to scaling up the AD process: from initial feedstock development and breeding technologies, through the process itself, to downstream processing and product development.


Day 2 of the Forum now includes the morning visit to their open access labs where visitors will get a chance to learn about the BDC’s expertise and technology platforms, including:

  •  Anaerobic digestion (AD) suite: in collaboration with Dr James Chong (University of York), the BDC has developed a facility for performing pilot AD trials and conducting pre- and post- digestion analysis.
  • Bioreactors: the BDC has invested in three scales of fermentation systems that allow scale up and enhanced control of microbial liquid phase culture for comparison with preliminary small-scale shake flask experiments.
  • ACDP Hazard category II level microbiology laboratory: diverse equipment allowing for safely handling, storing and working with a variety of aerobic and anaerobic microbes, e.g. for environmental sampling, antimicrobial activity assays and toxicity testing.
  • Molecular labs: cutting-edge next generation sequencing facilities in addition to high throughput molecular marker platforms, for use in both plant and microbial characterisation and breeding programmes.

In addition to the facilities available at their headquarters, the BDC will also give an overview of the process development equipment held at their other sites. This equipment is designed for biomass treatment and analysis, which includes maceration and pelletising equipment, microwave pyrolysis, supercritical CO2, NMR, spinning cone distillation, as well as a comprehensive analytical lab.


R&I Forum attendees can just sign-up to the free lab visit here. BDC will pick up and drop-off those wishing to attend.

This adds to the programme which already includes sessions on:

  • How biogas can support an all-renewable electricity system;
  • The future of AD and European Commission funding;
  • Whether biogas yields can be increased by 30%;
  • Whether the cost of connecting to the high-pressure gas network can be reduced (National Grid);
  • Using high-lignin feedstocks in AD;
  • The AD operator view of research priorities;
  • Final project results from WRAP on digestate trials in agriculture;
  • Using phosphates effectively to feed the growing population; and,
  • Adding value to digestate - the great debate.

I look forward to seeing you there!


Posted in: News for Members, R&D Updates

Tags: R&D, r&i forum, r&i forum 2016, adba r&i forum 2016, anaerobic digestion, biogas, biorenewables development centre, food waste operators, crop operators