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Chinese firm works with UK Uni to develop bioenergy tech

Wahaha and University of Nottingham in five-year agreement to advance bioenergy sector in China

The UK-BRIC collaboration is set to bring new developments to bioenergy technology in China

China’s largest drinks firm and a UK university are working together to research and develop bioenergy technology. Chinese company Wahaha and The University of Nottingham have signed an agreement to advance expertise in the technology over the next five years.

The University will work with the BRIC business to develop a “pipeline of technologies” that can be developed into products for China.

Under the five-year plan, Wahaha and the University will establish joint research centres to develop a wide range of technologies including for bioenergy developments.

Professor Chris Rudd, pro-vice chancellor for business engagement and knowledge transfer at the University, said: “Wahaha is an outstanding business in the food and drink sector and the University will work with it to develop a pipeline of technologies that can be developed into products for the Chinese market.”

Zong Qinghou, the chairman and general manager of Wahaha, added: “It will benefit both parties because the University wants to build its reputation in China and our business needs the expertise and knowledge that the University can offer us.”

The University of Nottingham said it will provide training for the Wahaha team and offer further joint venture operations. This includes research, training and advisory services in China. The specific details of the bioenergy research or when the work is likely to commence have not yet been agreed.

Qinghou said: “I am sure that this will be a very successful partnership because both Wahaha and The University of Nottingham work to the highest standards.”

The University is currently working on a project for the Sustainable Bioenergy Centre. It will look at the conversion of plant cell waste materials to ethanol and butanol.

The University confirmed it is also researching and developing microbial fuel cells which convert farm effluent and dairy by-products into electricity and biogas. It informed it has equipment to develop new ways to turn waste and non-agricultural products such as wood and straw into alcohol to use as fuel.