Industry News

Solvert & SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT Together to Produce Biobased Chemicals from Organic Waste

Published on 2013-07-17. Author : SpecialChem

Solvert aims to develop innovative supply to enable the conversion the organic stream from either municipal solid waste (MSW) and commercial and industrial (C&I) waste into biobased chemicals, namely n-butanol, acetone and hydrogen.

Dr Adrian Higson, head of Bio-based products for NNFCC said "this another positive announcement on investment into the development of bio-based chemicals in the UK," he also added "the UK has considerable strength in the area of butanol fermentation and it's encouraging to see this expertise moving to commercialization".

As part of the investment, Solvert has agreed a collaborative research and development project with SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT and SITA UK to convert organic waste into feedstock for use in industrial fermentation processes to produce renewable chemicals. The investment will focus on optimizing the pretreatment of the waste and maximizing value creation from it.

Solvert's technology takes the organic fraction of household and commercial waste (food, paper, garden waste etc) and through a series of physical and biological transformations converts it into valuable and sustainable renewable chemicals, which are in significant demand in the UK manufacturing sector.

Kris Wadrop, Solvert's Founder and CEO, said: "Securing finance for the business has been incredibly tough in the current economic climate, however, with this investment from SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT I am delighted that the team's hard work is now paying dividends. The value of the investment from SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT is more than financial. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT is committing resources from its R&D center in Paris and its subsidiary, SITA UK, which is one of the UK's leading recycling and waste management companies, who will provide technical support and also help with commercialization work."

Stuart Hayward-Higham, Technical Development Director at SITA UK, said: "We are pleased to have helped facilitate this investment and to be part of the team that will work on the technical R&D and the wider potential commercialization of the R&D outputs. This project is one of a number where we are investing our skills and resources into making better use of waste."

Paul Joel Derian, Senior VP of Research, Innovation & Performance at SUEZ ENVIRONNMENT said: "Our role is to help our respective business units to develop their business today and for the future. Being able to support this important research with significant funding, technical specialists from our research and development center in Paris and close collaboration with the technical and commercial resources of SITA UK demonstrates our commitment to recovering value from organic waste and sustainable development."

Kris Wadrop concluded: "Our initial business vision, to build manufacturing facilities in the UK, remains the same, however our understanding of the markets, both feedstock and financial, have meant those plans have had to be revised to suit the current UK regulatory and economic climate. Government support is growing in the field of Resource Efficiency and the Circular Economy however our technology proposition is as much about crossing supply chain boundaries as it is developing new novel technologies and doesn't yet appear to qualify for many of the government funded schemes. This is why corporate support from SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT and SITA UK is incredibly valuable as it clearly demonstrates the value of our technology and relevance of our commercial focus to industry."

About Solvert

Solvert is a technology development company with a focus on becoming a project developer; based in the Wilton Centre, Redcar, formerly ICI's Global R&D headquarters, it is ideally placed within the heart of the UK's industrial heartland. The business was founded in 2010 by Kris Wadrop, a career engineer and innovator with an international pedigree in both the petro- and renewable chemical industries. Solvert's technology specifically targets the UK's organic waste mountain and converts it into sustainable renewable chemicals through a series of physical and biological transformations. The business originally raised finance through North Star Equity Investment Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund, backed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank, along with private investment to demonstrate the potential of its technology for diverting waste from landfill and converting it into n-butanol, acetone and hydrogen for the chemicals market. Solvert has built a very strong network of strategic partners, specifically the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Otto Simon Limited (OSL), to support technology development and engineering design.


SITA UK, a subsidiary of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, is a recycling and resource management company, generating environmental value, social value and economic value from our nation's waste. The company delivers environmentally responsible and increasingly innovative solutions for the public, local government, industry and commerce, enabling our customers to reduce their impact on the environment. SITA UK serves over 12 million people and handles more than eight million tons of domestic, commercial and industrial waste through a network of recycling, composting, energy-from-waste and landfill facilities. SITA UK employs over 5,500 staff and has an annual turnover in excess of £770 million.


Natural resources are not infinite. Each day, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT (Paris: SEV, Brussels: SEVB) and its subsidiaries deal with the challenge of protecting resources by providing innovative solutions to industry and to millions of people. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT supplies drinking water to 96.6 million people, provides wastewater treatment services for 66.3 million people and collects the waste produced by 50 million people. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT has 79,550 employees and, with its presence on five continents, is a world leader exclusively dedicated to water and waste management services. In 2012, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, a subsidiary in which GDF SUEZ has a 35.7% interest, generated revenues of EUR 15.1 billion.

Source: NNFCC

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