BEACON is a joint collaboration between Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea Universties, with unique facilities at each institute.
BEACON will build upon research already underway at Aberystwyth University's Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) to produce fuels from energy crops such as high-sugar grasses like rye. Bangor University will build upon work to develop new materials and chemicals from plants which can be used to develop innovative products. BEACON will enable Swansea University to focus on developing their expertise in using bacteria and fungi to digest, or ferment, plant matter within the biorefining process.
The BEACON Biorefining facility built on the Gogerddan campus at Aberystwyth University (AU) features a flexible plug and play, multi-feedstock pilot processing plant. The unit houses a range of key equipment facilities and associated expertise to enable academic and industrial partners to develop and demonstrate scale-up processes, taking laboratory research to economically viable industrial applications.
The BEACON capability based at Bangor University is separated over two sites: the main university campus and the BioProducts and BioRefining Technology Transfer Centre based at Mona on Anglesey. These facilities house a range of key equipment and associated expertise to enable academic and industrial partners to develop and demonstrate scale-up processes, taking laboratory research to economically viable industrial applications.
The BEACON capability at Swansea University is centred on the microbiology facilities in the Institute of Life Science (ILS), the research arm of the College of Medicine at Swansea University. Completed in 2007, with support from the Welsh Government and the European Union, the ILS laboratories house state of the art facilities and equipment.