Sustainable Process Technologies Research Group


Accelerate the introduction of continuous manufacturing of bio-based commodity chemicals manufacturing at productivities and scales commensurate with economic viability.


ConBioChem is a 5 year multidisciplinary translational project funded by UKRI that aims to accelerate the continuous bio-manufacturing of commodity chemicals by developing superior, highly productive and cost effective fermentation techniques. 

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Led by the University of Nottingham, working alongside the University of Cambridge, University College London, and several industrial partners (including Green Biologics, Lucite, CPI, Ingenza andChain Biotech), the project will utilise synthetic and systems biology, metabolic and chassis engineering and metabolomics to develop highly efficient cell factories to produce target molecules of commercial interest to our industrial members. 

In parallel to the development of productive producer organisms, multiscale models and techno-economic analysis tools will be developed to reliably predict scale-up performance. The project will address the following problems:

  • Genetic instability of engineered production strains
  • Unproductive metabolic flux towards generation of excess biomass rather than the target product
  • Switching inefficient batch fermentation  processes to continuous operation
  • High costs and poor productivities that restrict the use of biotechnology in the manufacture of high volume chemicals.

The ConBioChem consortium will facilitate dramatic advances in synthetic biology based chemicals manufacturing and will focus on developing a toolbox of platform technologies to rapidly increase the number and range of engineered microorganisms that can be used for the cost effective and sustainable manufacture of bulk chemicals.

Batch fermentation can be a large operating expense when making bulk chemicals with markets of >100s tonnes plus pa. To make these processes more cost effective at scale, the project will develop continuous fermentations to align productivity and manufacturing costs with targets set by industrial members.

ConBioChem consists of four workpackages:

Work Package 1: Synthetic Biology for stable, highly productive biocatalysts

Work Package 2: Multi-Scale Strain to Process Models

Work Package 3: Continuous Bioprocesses

Work Package 4: Project Management & dissemination

Drivers for Producing Bio-Based Chemicals and Materials

  • Create cost effective, bioproducts with superior performance
  • Alleviate supply issues with unstable supplies, increasing cost and scarcity of fossil fuel feedstocks
  • Reduce supply chain CO2 emissions, in line with corporate social responsibility
  • Replace materials under threat from legalisation (e.g. REACH)


For more information about the project, or to get involved, please contact:

 18th European Congress on Biotechnology
    : 1-4 July 2018, Switzerland  

Press Releases



Project Team

Academic Collaborators

UoN logo 208

UCL logo - too small

University of Cambridge logo 208

Industrial Collaborators

Lucite logo 208

Green Biologics Logo 208

Ingenza Logo - too small

Chain Biotech logo 208

CPI logo - too small

Collaborating Organisations

  • Detox - a five year UKRI-funded translatonal project

Sustainable Process Technologies Research Group

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 4002