York-Sichuan link to study biodiesel production

January 04, 2007

Biologists at the University of York have established new research links with Chinese scientists to investigate biodiesel - a cleaner, more environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum.

Professor Ian Graham led a delegation of scientists from the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) at York to Sichuan University in China. The trip was funded by the British Consulate-General Office in Chongqing as part of the UK-China Partners in Science Programme.

Tim Summers, British Consul-General for Chongqing, said: "Renewable energy is one of the agreed priority areas for future co-operation between the two countries, and we hope this visit to Chengdu will be the first of many by Professor Graham and his colleagues."

The CNAP scientists participated in a workshop arranged to explore production of biodiesel from the bush Jatropha curcas -- a tree that grows in the tropics and produces oil-rich seeds that can be used to make biofuel. The York delegation included Professor Simon McQueen-Mason, Dr Yi Li, Dr Tony Larson and Dr Andrew King.

Professor Graham said: "We have successfully established collaborative links with Sichuan University, specifically focussing on biodiesel. CNAP's outstanding expertise in the whole biorenewables area is further enhanced by such partnerships."

While in China, Professor Graham and Professor McQueen-Mason were awarded Guest Professorships from Sichuan University. Professor McQueen-Mason said: "We are greatly honoured by the award and very excited by the opportunity of interacting with Chinese scientists in this very important area."
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Notes to Editors

CNAP, the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, is a research centre in the Department of Biology at the University of York and was established through a benefaction from the Garfield Weston Foundation and funding from UK Government. The University of York was awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2006 for its work in CNAP. The aim of CNAP's research is to realise the potential of plant- and microbial-based renewable resources through gene discovery to make products needed by society. CNAP research in plant and microbial sciences is supported by the UK Research Councils, particularly the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), as well as the DTI and DEFRA, and funding from European and US organisations. http://www.cnap.org.uk/

University of York

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