With the increasing population, there is a growing demand for alternative renewable resources for bioenergy, biomaterials and bioactive nutrients. A significant challenge for many developed and developing economies is to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Fossil fuels are a limited resource and threaten the stability of our climate, and the current energy crisis highlights the need for urgent action. Thus, there is a need to develop bioresources to produce petroleum alternatives or bioenergy, other functional biomaterials and bioproducts to meet the current demands. Hemp, being an important industrial and nutritional crop, has recently emerged as a renewable resource to produce valuable biomaterials, bioenergy and various nutraceutical compounds. Hemp is an efficient source of lignocellulosic materials (i.e., cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin) and can be a bio-renewable resource and raw material for many value-added products such as biofuels, bioplastics, paints, textiles, etc. Microbial biotechnology and process engineering play a pivotal role in the bioconversion of hemp biomass into biofuels and other valuable bioproducts. Effective valorisation technologies for hemp biomass, its biochemical characteristics and advanced conversion processes can improve the cost-effectiveness of conversion processes and bioproducts.
Through this project, we aim to directly address SRUC’s key Priorities for a Sustainable Circular Economy through developing robust strategic partnerships with the Scottish Hemp Association, industries and universities developing innovative multispectral technologies to support the rapidly expanding European and global Industrial Hemp market.
We will explore /provide input on hemp in food production in relation to stakeholder engagement, the consultation with the Scottish hemp association and the Northeast Farmers.
We would also facilitate agriculture, biorefining, dairy, and bioeconomy-related research and education for rural Scotland’s students and youth. The partnership to be developed with stakeholders and potential research proposals supported by this funding are strategic for SRUC to ensure the transfer of knowledge acquired in Biorefining and other thrusts areas and engage with the other businesses in need of industry active research and development platform.