Published on 23/05/2023
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Aston University biofuel experts advise on how Ukraine can build back greener
Professor Patricia Thornley
  • Aston University biofuel experts provide advice on Ukraine’s recovery
  • Professor Patricia Thornley and Dr Vesna Najdanovic were invited to Royal Society conference
  • Outcomes will be presented to policymakers at Ukraine Recovery Conference in June.

Two Aston University scientists have provided expert advice on how the UK’s wealth of research can support Ukraine’s reconstruction.

A two-day conference was organised by the Royal Society and its outcomes will be presented to policymakers ahead of the UK government-hosted Ukraine Recovery Conference in June.

As Ukraine is one of the largest agricultural producers and exporters it also generates large amounts of agricultural waste which could be used to produce biofuels and valuable chemicals. This could decrease the country’s fuel import dependency and increase the revenues for the sector.

Researchers at the conference explored how to tackle some of the many challenges facing Ukraine, from rebuilding its economy, health and wellbeing, regional security and planning for a green recovery.

Professor Patricia Thornley who is director of Aston University’s Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI), was one of the just three academics invited to contribute to an infrastructure roundtable session.   

Professor Thornley said: “I was honoured to be asked to attend the infrastructure roundtable and share my expertise on renewable energy and sustainable products. 

“Ukraine has significant sustainable agricultural and forestry residues, which can be valuable to plug potential gaps in oil and gas supply for heating in the short term. But in the long term these can provide opportunities to produce sustainable bio chemicals and materials which could provide a basis to grow green chemical, material and construction industries. 

“UK researchers, such as those at EBRI at Aston University and the Supergen Bioenergy Hub, have the experience needed to work on developing these solutions to build back greener. Research evidence and expertise have a vital role to play in supporting policy makers to tackle the complex and urgent challenges related to the reconstruction and recovery of a resilient, sustainable Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Dr Vesna Najdanovic presented opportunities to develop bioenergy and bioproducts in Ukraine at the event and participated as a panel member. 

Ukraine’s recovery: rebuilding with research, which brought together Ukrainian and UK researchers and policy makers, was held on 15 and 16 May in London. It was funded by Universities UK International, Research England and the British Council and supported by the Academy of Medical Sciences, British Academy and the Royal Academy of Engineering. 

Notes to editors

About Aston University
Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston University is a long-established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.
In 2022 Aston University was ranked in the top 25 of the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.
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