Event Summary

Bio-waste is both an unnecessary costly problem and a missed opportunity. It uses resources in its disposal and represents unrealised value. Expert opinion believes that in 90% of cases, bio-waste should be upgraded in some sort of industrial process, unless the waste is immediately useful as a fertilizer and soil improving agent.

Event Description

Date to be confirmed
Conference: 9:30am–4pm
Drinks reception: 4pm–6pm

Bio-waste is both an unnecessary costly problem and a missed opportunity. It uses resources in its disposal and represents unrealised value. Expert opinion believes that in 90% of cases, bio-waste should be upgraded in some sort of industrial process, unless the waste is immediately useful as a fertilizer and soil improving agent.

To explore this we have planned a full day of thought-provoking material presented at the Colworth Science Park, home to Unilever's tea and ice creams research centres of excellence and a vibrant community of food-based research-intensive SMEs; with talks and discussions from Ricardo and Unilever and experts in the field including Axion Group, Biorenewables Development Centre at York University, PA Consulting, and Apleona HSG Ltd.

Why attend?

  • Hear about best in class projects already in place in major corporations
  • Discuss your own challenges with like-minded peers from other companies
  • Network with major corporations such as Unilever, PepsiCo, Cargill, Mondelez, Merck
  • Tour Unilever's world-class research facilities
  • Meet interesting smaller businesses and leading academics from across the UK and beyond

Who should attend?

  • Those responsible for innovation in efficiency and production technologies
  • Academics and innovators creating new techniques and processes for handling bio-waste
  • Those with relevant services to offer

Recent previous feedback on our events

  • "Good quality attendees." - Managing Director, Strategic Allies
  • "Lots of expertise in the room" - Project Manager, Adecco Group
  • "Very interesting content and high quality of attendees; good for networking." - Technology and Innovation Lead, PA Consulting Group
  • "A new way of thinking and interesting networking." - Group Technical Director, Cadence Design Systems
  • "Informative, challenging assumptions, good networking." - R&D Principal Innovation Engineer, PepsiCo
  • "Really informative and thought provoking / great attendees." - R&D Innovation Accelerator Leader, Coty Inc
  • "Fantastic intros to people I wouldn’t normally meet in my business." - CERDEC Global Science Advisor, RDECOM-Atlantic
  • "Excellent event." - Senior Programme Manager, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

Event Programme

Time Programme Speaker
9:30 - 10:00 Registration and refreshments on arrival  
10:00 - 10:15 Opening and welcome from Innovation DB & Colworth Park  Gerald Law, Chief Executive at Innovation DB & Keith Purdie Business Development Director at Colworth Park
10:15 - 10:45 Waste Valorisation – Where Disruptive Technology and Business Models Meet
With three billion more middleclass consumers expected by 2030, there are going to be increasing pressures on raw materials. This is only going to further the business case for capturing and extracting as much value as possible from by-products. However, by product valorisation often requires new technologies, business models and cross business/value chain relationships to realise its full potential. This isn’t stopping organisations from doing it though, and PA Consulting are working across multiple sectors helping clients do just this. David and David will give their unique perspectives about the opportunities presented, the technologies and business models enabling them and some of the barriers that need to be overcome in order to deliver business value.
David Rakowski, Managing Consultant & David Hickie, Partner at PA Consulting
10:45 - 11:00 Coffee break  
11:00 - 11:30 Biorefining at the Biorenewables Development Centre
The Biorenewables Development Centre works along side academia and industry to bring innovation into the real world. The BDC carries out a wide range of projects focused on turning waste into product and making existing processes more sustainable. Alex will outline the capabilities at the BDC and how the facilities and expertise may be accessed. The talk will focus on the process a project goes through to turn an idea into a solution. The talk will include case studies from the BDC.
Alexandra Jukes, Technologist at Biorenewables Development Centre
11:30 - 12:00 Session details coming soon  
12:00 - 13:00 Lunch and networking  
13:00 - 13:30 Optimisation of Packaging Design for End of Life
A talk on how the design of packaging effects how it is treated at end of life. The discussion will cover “conventional plastics” and bioplastics and what design considerations should be made to ensure that packaging has been optimised for end of life. 
Richard McKinlay, Head of Circular Economy at Axion
13:30 - 14:00 Valorisation of Waste - Technologies around the World 
Gerald will present a range of novel approaches and technologies to tackle waste valorisation, drawn from universities and SMEs from around the world. He will also give an indication, based on the data from InnovationDB, as to the sort of approaches that are proving popular, the underlying science they depend on, and locations where this is a particularly hot area for research.
Gerald Law, Chief Executive at Innovation DB
14:00 - 14:15 Coffee break  
14:15 - 15:15 Session details coming soon  
15:15 - 15:45 Where there is muck there could well be brass
Andrew will explore energy storage, possible other innovative technology tracks and how we might also deliver environmentally beneficial outcomes.
Andrew Atkins, Global Technical Lead at Ricardo Innovations
15:45 - 16:00 Closing from Innovation DB Gerald Law, Chief Executive at Innovation DB
16:00 - 18:00 Drinks Reception + Optional Tour of Colworth Park Research Facilities  


David Rakowski

Managing Consultant
PA Consulting

David is co-lead for PA’s Circular Economy proposition. As a Systems Engineer and programme manager within PA’s Technology Innovation service he has worked across multiple sectors from Consumer Products to Manufacturing.

Having previously led sponsor-funded international development work in Borneo his focus is now on driving forward PA’s Circular Economy work, with a particular interest on where Business Models and Technology meet to create solutions that unlock new sources of value, and achieve sustainability goals. Recently, he has led projects ranging from delivering revolutionary new kelp based packaging systems and first to world consumer beverage appliances, through to advising the UN on disruptive technologies that enable the sustainable development goals.

Based: Cambridge, UK
Technology Innovation

David Hickie

PA Consulting

David is a creative and enterprising R&D executive. His expertise lies in helping companies in the consumer goods arena grow through innovation and technology. He is passionate about resolving the inherent contradiction of achieving sustainable growth. Amongst David's achievements, he has led a number of initiatives to help large companies valorise waste streams.

A former board member of EUROPEN (The European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment), David has 20 years’ experience in research and development at senior levels in PepsiCo and Unilever, spanning multiple geographies, technologies and product categories. He was influential in steering PepsiCo's environmental sustainability efforts across the supply chain, including the introduction of precision farming technology in the UK.

Based: Cambridge, UK
Consumer Sector

Alexandra Jukes

Biorenewables Development Centre

At the BDC, Alex works with David in the Microbiology lab and AD lab on wide range of projects, including fermentation, anaerobic digestion and material characterisation. Outside of work, she enjoys staying active, eating lots and going to live performances.

Before joining the BDC, Alex set up a business (AJ Ethical Extractions), to explore uses for chemicals found in crop and food waste, and has initially focused on waste tomato leaves. Alex holds a degree in Biomedical Science from Sheffield Hallam University and is interested in finding holistic approaches for current processes that minimise waste and maximise sustainability.

Richard McKinlay

Head of Circular Economy

Richard graduated from The University of Manchester with a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering in 2012 and is currently Head of Circular Economy at Axion. Richard has worked on a range of research, development and demonstration projects in the waste and resource sector with Axion covering post-consumer plastics, Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE), Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and End of Life Vehicles (ELV). Richard led the technical delivery of the REFLEX project, a complete supply chain approach to addressing the barriers facing flexible packaging recycling in the UK.

Gerald Law

Chief Executive
Innovation DB

Gerald has a background in Management Consultancy and academia. A London Business School alumnus, with a Doctorate from Oxford University, he has experience of several start-ups and their exits, with considerable experience in building company executive boards, which has led him to sit on VC investment committees, among other roles. He established the UK Innovation Forum six years ago, which morphed into Innovation DB over time, in response to feedback from members. Today the company’s four areas of activity cover its community, its reports, its events and the database itself – easily the biggest of its kind in the world.

Andrew Atkins

Global Technical Lead
Ricardo Innovations

Andrew is a business and technical innovator with expertise in identifying technology gaps in markets and then blending new and existing technology streams to provide novel solutions and then deliver the marketing strategy that turns these into successful business streams. His specialties include:

  • Engineering: thermodynamics, dynamics, cryogenics, vacuum, high voltage, magnetic design
  • Business: team building and leadership, network development, consensus building, marketing

Currently Andrew is a Global Technology Lead – SLT member of Ricardo Innovations. With responsibility to identify and deliver key partnerships and technologies that meet Ricardo Groups strategic aims on a 5,10,and 15 year horizon.

Some of Andrew's professional experiences include:

  • Hold 50 patents in disciplines such as cryogenics, magnetics, structures, etc.
  • Chief Engineer – KERS Flywheel system
  • Project Director for LCA development programme
  • Technical specialist – Tidal generator and Wind power drive line technologies
  • Technical specialist – Energy storage and grid management
  • Pre-Ricardo: PLM Process Manager – Siemens Magnet Technology & Manager of Technology Projects – Siemens Magnet Technology

Exhibition Opportunity

If you would like to exhibit at the event contact Celina on for information.

Event Sponsors

Colworth Park

Event Location

Colworth Park, Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, MK44 1LZ

Contact Us

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