Several patented inventions utilising microwaves to selectively activate components of biomass in additive-free processes

About

Worldwide, it is estimated that over 30% of citrus fruit produced (40% in the case of oranges) is processed by the food industry each year and from this amount up to 50% is considered as residuals, which currently have low value uses such as animal feeds or as agricultural supplements; at worst may be sent to landfill. The recovery and transformation of these residuals into higher value food ingredients would be of major commercial benefit to the local industry sector, allowing fuller material utilisation, greater combined value, and the reduction of disposal costs.

The Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE) have made several patented inventions utilising microwaves to selectively activate components of biomass in additive-free processes. This leads to a much more controlled decomposition process than can normally be achieved, for example by using acid treatment. Pectin and limonene are produced from the microwave processing of orange peel waste in addition to the the extremely versatile and valuable microfibrillated cellulose

The university is searching for licensing opportunities and collaborative research partners

Patents
Microwave torrefaction of biomass, US 2011/0219679A1
Microwave Assisted Citrus Waste Biorefinery, WO2013/150262 A1
Microwave assisted hydrothermal pre-treatment of cellulosic material to produce fermentable mixtures” PCT/GB2016/050116.

Key Benefits

Flexible additive and acid free processing for the production of fuels and chemical products.

Mobile processors can be located next to large concentrations of biomass.

Renewable, sustainable and biodegradable, reducing CO2 burden ensuring low carbon footprint.

Up to 20% microfibrillated cellulose production from orange peel waste

Applications

Microfibrillated cellulose has demonstrated promise as a rheology modifier in the food industry.

Microfibrillated cellulose has potential applications as a biomaterial in healthcare and home and personal care (testing underway).

High grade pectin is produced in high volume for use in the food and pharmaceutical sector.

Limonene is produced with potential applications in foods, beverages, cleaning products and cosmetics.

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