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07 Nov 2008 05:11:51

Research into crop uses funded

Research into crop uses funded
Low carbon alternatives for man made materials are to be researched in the east of England following the launch of a scheme to support the technology.

The Innovation Crops, or InCrops project, has received £2 million from the European Regional Development Fund and the East of England Development Agency.

Based in the University of East Anglia but partnered with regional organisations including Cambridge University and Renewables East, the project will aim to find ways for crops to replace man made materials in products thereby reducing their embedded carbon.

The project could follow the lead of Lotus Cars, which has used locally-sourced hemp in fibreglass panels to make car parts.

Dr John French, InCrops director, stressed the importance of resource efficiency, saying that it was not a question of cultivating crops either for food or other uses but of making the most of crops and reducing waste.

He added: "We need to maximise our use of crops and reduce waste. We also need to investigate the future crops we should be growing as climate change starts to affect the land and agriculture of this region. These crops can be used for fibre, high-value chemicals and extracts, protein and starch."



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