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Accelerating the bioeconomy

Growing Scotland’s biological resource potential.

Food and drink, and the broader bioeconomy is an important area of our work towards developing a circular economy in Scotland and positioning Scotland as an international leader in using renewable biological resources to remove our dependence on finite resources.

What do we mean by the bioeconomy?

This is the parts of the economy that use renewable biological resources from land and sea (crops, forests, fish, animals and micro-organisms) and converts them into food, feed, materials and energy using .

The bioeconomy is an exciting opportunity for Scotland with many innovative projects already under development and the potential for new businesses and business models to emerge.

A more circular approach to Scotland’s beer, whisky and fish sector by-products alone are expected to generate over half a million pounds per year. Further to this, over 27 million tonnes of bioresources are known to arise in Scotland every year which could be used as valuable feedstocks for many bio-based processes such as the production of food and feed ingredients to bio-based materials that can substitute petro-chemical based materials.

Some examples of bioeconomy businesses that are adding value to waste and by-products in Scotland include, CelluComp, a company turning nano fibres from root vegetable by-products into an environmentally friendly thickener for paint; Argent Energy, a company using waste fats and oils to convert into biofuel, and Ogilvy Spirits, a company making vodka from potatoes that are not suitable for retail. 

Contact our Circular Economy Accelerator experts here.

Serial Utilisation of Whisky Co-products

The whisky production process culminates with co-products such as draff, pot ale and spent lees. These are recognised for their value which is currently harnessed to generate cattle feed, soil enhancers and bio energy.  Future value-add opportunities include; protein extraction for use in food and feed, cosmetics, the production of biofuel and harnessing the carbon dioxide released in the distillation process.  

Watch our video to find out how three innovative organisations, MiAlgae, Horizon Proteins and BioPower are embracing the principles of a circular economy to gain maximum value from resources. These small businesses are working with the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre’s (IBioIC) FlexBio laboratory facilities at Heriot Watt University to integrate, test, refine, and evaluate commercial processes to maximise the value of co-products.

This project was co-funded by Zero Waste Scotland,  and led by the Industrial Biotechnology

Innovation Centre (IBioIC), with additional support from the Scotch Whisky Research Institute (SWRI), the industry’s leading research organisation.

Your project could be the next circular economy success story.  Contact our team to find out more.

The role of Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland is supporting projects in Scotland that increase the circularity of resource use.

Working in partnerships with the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) and Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), Zero Waste Scotland aims to drive innovation and growth in Scotland’s circular bioeconomy by identifying opportunities based on sector focussed research; supporting innovators with resources and funding; and bringing stakeholders together to network and collaborate. 

We also work alongside the enterprise agencies and other business support organisations to facilitate the delivery of targeted support and inspire collaborations between businesses. 

We directly support businesses developing bioeconomy opportunities through our  Circular Economy Business Support Service, which provides access to expertise and resources in order to help businesses implement the ideas for new processes, products or technologies. Innovative projects led by small and medium-sized enterprises may also be able to access support through our Circular Economy Investment Fund. 

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