With the first successful crop in half a century harvested earlier this year, the consortium behind the sugar beet initiative – which includes the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), SAC Consulting, and Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) – has secured a funding boost from Scottish Enterprise to analyse its potential environmental, societal, and economic impact.
Sugar beet is seen as a key building block for the development of sustainable supply chains and a ‘bioeconomy’, which uses natural materials instead of petrochemical compounds in manufacturing.
A local source of sugar beet could pave the way for the development of an ethanol-producing biorefinery in Grangemouth – the hub of Scotland’s chemicals and petrochemical processing industries – and later support a fully functioning bio-based chemicals industry. Demand for ethanol in Scotland is expected to double in the coming years, yet all of Scotland’s yearly supply of ethanol (now more than 50 million litres) is currently imported from Europe.
More information can be fund on the website of IBioIC.