Adaptive processing of natural feedstocks

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Chemical Engineering


Natural factories / plants / are capable of synthesising very complex functional molecules, which are then often mimicked for their function (as a drug, a fragrance, etc) through chemical synthesis. Such syntheses are not always feasible. In most cases the required transformations cannot be readily achieved due to the labile nature of the functional groups on the molecule of interest. Hence, using natural feedstocks as libraries of unique high-value molecules, and as factories that can be optimised to produce higher quantities of the desired molecules, is the approach that is potentially hugely rewarding, leading to creation of new markets. This route may also lead to the reduction of environmental impact of chemical technologies through avoiding the use of non-renewable feedstocks, complete utilisation of plant biomass and integrating plant feedstocks utilisation with energy and fertiliser technologies. This project will develop new adaptive processing technologies tackling main factors inducing variability in the overall process and consecutively affecting primary plant processing as well as downstream biodigestion and separation processes.


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