New Bacteria and Algae Process Could Help Decarbonise UK Military


Biomass from the process will be used to make new materials, including bio-based and biodegradable foams to grow nutritional plants in water scarce environments.

A new biological engineering process that could help to decarbonise the UK military is set to be developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield.

The cutting-edge research, led by academics in the University of Sheffield’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, is developing a novel bioprocess that uses a mixture of microbes to remediate waste.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) generates large volumes of waste oils, fuels, lubricants and other liquid hydrocarbon waste each year. The University of Sheffield researchers will investigate how to break down complex hydrocarbon waste products using bacteria, turn them to carbon dioxide and then use algae to capture the CO2.

The team then plans to extract the fatty acids from the algal biomass and develop polymer chemistry methods for making biodegradable foams. These foams can be used in a variety of ways, including as synthetic soils to grow nutritional plants in water scarce environments.

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