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Tees Valley leading the way in chemical industry

Date 13 Jul 2007

A national facility set to help the Tees Valley become one of the most important chemical industry hubs in the world has been officially opened today. It is hoped that the £12m National Industrial Biotechnology Facility based at the Centre for Process Innovation at Wilton will change the way vital chemicals used to make millions of everyday products are manufactured.

The NIBF will help firms replace traditional chemical processing techniques with cleaner and less wasteful methods, ensuring the region a place at the forefront of the green revolution. It provides an open access trial and development centre so that businesses can test their ideas to ensure they work and are viable before investing heavily. Once satisfied with the results they will have the evidence to prove a business case to potential backers. Large companies are already seeing the potential in the capability, with pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline already working on a development project with CPI.

Another key area of NIBF activity is the development of biorefineries which would use specially grow crops or waste material to produce energy, fuel and heat instead of burning fossil fuels. CPI is working with a UK Research Institute to take waste biomass and convert it to bioenergy and the demonstrator unit is under construction at the NIBF.

Dr Chris Dowle, director of advanced processing at CPI, said: "This facility will benefit companies by allowing them to embrace, test and subsequently apply sustainable manufacturing and energy production. Using industrial biotechnology for modern manufacturing will create reductions in millions of tonnes of waste and energy and more efficient use of the worlds resources."

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