Gloucestershire’s Green Fuels Research wins Innovate UK funding to research making biofuels from fish waste

Green Fuels Vietnam acquaculture project

The research arm of Berkeley-based pioneering renewable fuel company Green Fuels Research, in partnership with the School of Chemical Engineering, Hà Nội University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Vietnam, has been awarded grant funding by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

The partnership will to conduct a feasibility study into whether dead catfish can be turned into a sustainable biofuel for distributed power generation.

The project will look at the design of a process and facility for converting fishery waste to sustainable, low cost, net zero carbon diesel generator fuel which can be used within existing infrastructure to provide secure energy supply to fish farms.

Although grid connectivity in Vietnam is relatively high, the country’s aquaculture sector, where farms are frequently located in remote areas, is heavily reliant on fossil diesel generators.

Among the project’s expected outcomes will be assembly of a demonstration plant, development of a commercially viable business plan and value chain for future commercialisation and opportunities for industry and community engagement. A further outcome will be a detailed life-cycle analysis to demonstrate clearly the overall CO2eq savings in comparison with the current state-of-the-art.

Launching the project, the Green Fuels group’s Chief Strategy Officer Paul Hilditch said. “We are genuinely excited that PoWGEN will focus on Vietnam, the world’s fourth largest aquaculture producer at 6.4 million tonnes per annum. The sector there has grown exponentially at 20 per cent annually over the last decade. Based on a 20 per cent average fish mortality rate, some 400,000 tonnes of energy-rich pangasius (catfish) waste material is potentially available every year, itself increasing at an annual rate of 20 per cent. As feedstock is the life blood of any biofuels operation, we are confident that this project can have a dramatic impact on decarbonisation of power generation in the region.”

Founded in 2003, Green Fuels has pioneered the development and supply of  biofuel equipment with aggregate capacity equating to $500 billion in fuel sales to customers in more than 80 countries. Identifying aviation and marine as strategic fuel markets of the future, Green Fuels Research was established in 2014 to develop IP in these areas.

The group has attracted £12 million in direct and indirect research grant funding to date, with R&D facilities in Berkeley, Gloucestershire.

Green Fuels was awarded a Royal Warrant of Appointment to HRH the Prince of Wales in 2013 and has participated in many pioneering events in its field including the first 100 per cent biofuel-powered jet flight and the first 100 per cent biofuel-powered train.

Green Fuels is in the course of a strategic transformation to global sustainable fuel producer in the pivotal sectors of sustainable aviation and marine fuels and in high-growth emerging markets for sustainable road fuel. Over the next 5 years, the Green Fuels group intends to establish or participate in fuel production operations in key markets worldwide, building on the company’s deep experience in renewable fuel tech, especially in decentralized refining, and on its IP in sustainable aviation and marine fuels.

You can read our interview with the amazing brains behind Green Fuels, James Hygate, on page 92 in our  Spring 2021 issue of Business & Innovation Magazine.