Glossary

Antioxidants

An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation occurs as a result of a chemical reaction which transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent.

Bio Plastics

Bio plastics are a particular type of plastic derived from renewable biomass sources including vegetable fats and oils, corn starch or micro biota. BEACON has the facilities to extract lactic acid from perennial rye grass for its conversion to poly lactic acid – a type of bio plastic.

Biofuels

Biofuels are fuels produced from plant material (biomass). They are increasingly popular over fossil fuels to their environmental impact compared to non-renewable resources such as crude oil. Biofuels include biodiesel made from rapeseed oil and other plant oils, and bioethanol made from the fermentation of sugar in the biomass of energy crops.

Bioethanol

Bioethanol is a fuel used as a petrol substitute for road transport vehicles. Bioethanol is largely produced through sugar fermentation using biomass from energy crops. Energy crops are grown specifically for this function and can often yield sugar levels equal to that of the sugar cane plant. Ethanol is a clear colourless liquid, biodegradable, with low toxicity and causes little environmental pollution if spilt.

Biomass

Biomass is any biological material derived from living or recently living organisms. Biomass deriving from plant or plant-based material is known as lignocellulosic biomass.

Biorefinery

A “biorefinery” is a relatively new term referring to the conversion of biomass feedstock into a host of valuable chemicals and energy with minimal waste and emissions. The core technology is a unique thermal reactor devoted to sequential, linear biomass fractionation through steam auto-hydrolysis.

Biorefining

Biorefining is the process of converting biomass as a feedstock into a variety of products. Biomass has a variety of components including lignin, cellulose, extractives etc which can be converted into biofuels, bio plastics, BioComposites amongst others. A biorefinery takes advantage of the properties in biomass to allow for the production of these products.

Carbon Neutral

Carbon Neutral refers to the attainment of zero carbon emissions through balancing a measured amount of carbon released in a process with an equivalent quantity offset – or in some cases purchasing enough carbon credits to counterbalance the difference. Carbon neutrality is used in the context of processes which release carbon dioxide (CO2), these often include transportation, energy production, and industrial processes.

Centrifuge

The centrifuge is a piece of process equipment used to separate immiscible liquids using centrifugation.

Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is a natural green pigment found in cyanobacteria and the chloroplasts of algae and plants. Chlorophyll is one of only a few natural green pigments, and as such is registered as a food additive for its colour properties in E140. In culinary use chlorophyll is most commonly used in pasta and absinthe.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates refers to carbohydrates with a chemical structure that consists of three or more sugars, usually linked together to form a chain. These sugar chains are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Due to their complex structure, this type of carbohydrate takes longer to digest and don’t raise the sugar levels in the blood as fast as simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are used in the body as a fuel and contribute significantly to the production of energy.

Cross Flow Filtration

Cross-flow filtration is a type of filtration where the majority of the flow feeds travels tangentially across the surface of a filter, rather than into a filter. Cross-flow filtration’s main advantage over dead-end filtration is that the “filter cake” is mostly washed away during the filtration process, increasing the time that the filter unit can remain operational in a single session.

Energy Crops

Generally categorised as woody or herbaceous plants, an energy crop is a plant grown as a low-cost and low-maintenance harvest used to make biofuels. In the commercial sense, energy crops are typically a densely planted, high yielding crop species, where the end product will be burnt to generate power.

Enzymes

An enzyme is a substance produced by a living organism which acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction. Most enzymes are proteins with large complex molecules whose action depends on their particular molecule shape. Some enzymes control reactions within cells and some, such as the enzymes involved with digestion, control the reactions outside cells.

Fermentation

Fermentation is an anaerobic cellular process where organic substances such as yeast and bacteria are converted into simpler compounds, and chemical energy is produced. Fermentation is often used to convert sugars into acids, gases and or alcohol.

Fructan

A fructan is a polymer of fructose molecules.  Fructans with a short chain length are known as “fructtooligosaccharides”. Fructans occur in foods such as agave, artichokes, asparagus, leeks, garlic, and onions. In animal fodder, fructans also appear in grass, with dietary implications for horses and other equidae.

Hammer Mill

A hammer mills is a primary processing piece of equipment with the main purpose of shredding or crushing aggregate material into smaller pieces.

Lipids

Lipids are a group of naturally occurring molecules which include fats, waxes, sterols, and fat soluble vitamins including vitamins A, D, E, and K. The primary biological functions of lipids include the storing of energy, signalling, and acting as structural components of cell membranes. Lipids have an active application in the cosmetic, food and nano technology industries.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is a chemical compound that plays a role in various biochemical processes. Using a number of secondary processing equipment lactic acid can be converted for use in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and bio plastic sectors.

Life Cycle Analysis

Life cycle analysis (LCA) is a systematic approach to identifying, measuring, documenting and interpreting the environmental consequences of a product. An LCA can look at the entire life cycle of a product from raw material extraction through to end of life disposal, and all of the stages in between, including transportation.