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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N034740/1
Title: Resilient and Sustainable Biorenewable Systems Engineering Model (ReSBio)
Principal Investigator: Guo, Dr M
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Agriculture Res Council (CREA) Italy Biochemtex
Brunel University London Centre for Process Innovation Limited Cranfield University
INRA Nanyang Technological University Nat Ctr for Res in Energy & Mat (CNPEM)
National Non-Food Crops Centre NNFCC Newcastle University Novozymes A/S
Rothamsted Research The Coca-Cola Company TianAn Biological Material Co.,Ltd
University of Aberdeen University of Glasgow WRAP
Department: Department of Chemical Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 November 2016 Ends: 31 October 2019 Value (£): 326,572
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Design of Process systems
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
05 Sep 2016 Eng Fellowship Interviews Sep 2016 Announced
03 Aug 2016 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 3 August 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Driven by a range of environmental challenges e.g. climate change, energy and material insecurity, a transition from the current fossil-based to a future bio-based economy is expected to evolve progressively and bring a post-petroleum era. The UK government has set out transition policies and strategies to adapt to and mitigate future environmental change and biorenewable carbon resources will play a significant role to meet UK 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets and support national adaptation efforts. The current EU bioeconomy is estimated to be worth around 2 trillion euros and a wide range of bio-products generated from biomass resources bring great potential. Unlike other renewable sources e.g. tidal or wind energy, biomass provides flexible options to overcome supply instability and un-predictability by deriving thermal and electrical energy on demand and offering potential for transport fuel or bio-chemical generation. Resource assessment shows that the UK biomass could meet almost half of domestic energy needs by 2050 without compromising land use. Biomass-derived value-added chemicals also represent a significant market; with current annual turnover of £60 billion, the UK chemical sector is described as the 'heart of the green economy development'. Such plethora of bio-renewable products can be converted efficiently and sustainably via well-designed integrated biorefinery systems. However, human use of and impacts on the biosphere are now exceeding the multiple environmental limits. Thus the future biorenewable deployment calls for an quantitative transition modelling tool bringing resilience and sustainability thinking approach in biorenewable system design to increase the overall capacity for tackling environmental stresses or socio-economic changes over the coming decades.

This project aims to develop an open-source biorenewable system model from user-perspectives and provide insights into sustainable design of the future biorenewable systems, which est adapt to and mitigate future changes, contribute to UK sustainability and resilience agenda and support bioeconomy evolution. Under ReSBio, seven research streams are organized in work packages (WP) that run in parallel.

WP1 will engage policy-makers, industrial stakeholders, scientists and engineers to scope the model context and objectives under UK sustainability and resilience context and define the model functions, indicators, boundaries, and case studies from user perspectives.

Building on WP1 model functional specifications, WP2 focuses on the open-source model development with the user-oriented architecture and integrating sustainability evaluation, biogeochemistry models and optimisation model.

WP3 expands the WP2 work and highlights the biomass resource modelling and agro-ecosystem C/N cycle simulation by building empirical database and re-parameterising the plant growth sub-model.

WP4 focuses on the environmental and economic performance evaluation of the promising technologies and the biorefinery system integration configurations.

WP5 aims to explore strategic design of representative UK case studies over multiple time periods under future environmental changes and demographic and economic trends.

WP6 will adapt and apply the developed model in representative overseas case studies which are of relevance to the UK.

To ensure ReSBio impacts, WP7 is dedicated to research output synthesis and project dissemination.

ReSBio will help to understand the research merit of biomass and conversion technologies for UK biorenewable value chains under future changes and identify the sustainable and resilient design for UK biorenewables systems over next decades. ReSBio will generate new insights into the biorenewable potential in future UK infrastructure transition strategies and bio-economy.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk