Shell research biofuels at British universities
by David Masters
September 24, 2008
A department at the University of Manchester has been selected by Shell to help with its biofuel research.
The Centre of Excellence in Biocatalysis, Biotransformations and Biocatalytic Manufacture (CoEBio3) at the university will be one of six partners to help Shell develop the future of biofuels.
It will be one of two partners in the UK, the other being Exeter University’s School of Biosciences.
Since being set up in 2006, CoEBio3 has become a European leader in the research of white biotechnology, where enzymes and micro-organisms are used to create chemicals.
Scientists at the centre work in collaboration with 17 fee-paying industrial affiliates, including pharmaceutical and fine chemical companies.
Professor Nick Turner, a director of CoEBio3, said white biotechnology is expected to ‘expand dramatically’ in the next few years, moving from being of minor pharmaceutical interest to the forefront of alternative biofuel research.
He added that the centre is ‘extremely excited’ to be working with Shell to develop ‘ground-breaking technology’.
Shell’s Executive Vice President for Future Fuels and CO2 said Shell hopes its six new partnerships announced today will help the company maintain its position as a global leader in biofuel research and development.
Details of specific projects to be carried out for Shell at CoEBio3 have not been released
The overall aim of the programme is to discover new raw materials and new methods to produce biofuels. This, it is hoped, will improve biofuel efficiency, and reduce the cost of biofuel production.
A spokesperson for the Environmental Transport Association said it is ‘vital’ that next generation biofuels are developed as quickly as possible so that biofuel production can stop competing with food crops.
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