Presentation of iCRAB Technology Road Map at EFIB 2016

Pennotec were very pleased to be invited to speak in support of BioBase Europe Pilot Plant at the ‘Cascade Processes in Biorefining’ Plants to Product (P2P) Showcase on the second day of the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB) 2016 in Glasgow last month. The presentation provided an explanation of the background and benefits Pennotec received from BioBase Europe Pilot Plant funded through the Innovation Coupon programme.

Dr Jonathan Hughes (Managing Director) presented a Technology Roadmap to illustrate how a critical evaluation by BioBase Europe Pilot Plant’s of the integrated Chitin and Ryegrass Acid (iCRAB) process was key to the direction of development of Pennotec in 2015-16. iCRAB, which is a physically benign and environmentally friendly Industrial Biotechnology process for the extraction of the valuable commodity chitin from crustacean shell by-product began to be developed in 2014-15 through an Innovate UK joint-supported project in collaboration with Aberystwyth University Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) Biorefining Centre of Excellence and Bangor University’s BioProducts and BioRefining -Technology Transfer Centre (BPR-TTC), which are part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)-supported BEACON biorefining initiative.


The Technology Roadmap illustrates how a combination of:

• Rising landfill costs.
• The development of innovative new technologies.
• The Demand for cost-effective biodegradable alternatives to petrochemical-derived product, and;
• EU regulation-driven demands for sustainable sourcing of bio-actives.

means that crustacean shell by-product is becoming a bio-refinable feedstock where it was once considered a problematic biodegradable ‘waste’.

BioBase Europe Pilot Plant’s critical appraisal of the iCRAB process techno-economic model identified opportunities to improve the process economics and some key challenges in taking the process from laboratory to pilot to commercial scale. Pennotec is currently seeking funding support and collaborative partnerships to put the key learning into action and develop the first commercial crustacean chitin biorefinery in Europe as part of the development of the Circular Economy in the UK and Ireland.