Dr. Sarah Hickingbottom

CEO - BioVale

Presentation Title: “The Circular Bioeconomy: Chemistry beyond our gilded petroleum thought-cages”  – KEYNOTE


“BioVale is Yorkshire and the Humber’s circular bioeconomy innovation cluster and we work across the UK to build new networks, nurture new technologies and promote entrepreneurship as we commercialise bio-based chemicals and the wider bioeconomy. But what about the ways we think? We think carbon-carbon; operate at ginormous scales; and dream of like-for-like green chemical replacements.

But biotechnology and bio-based feedstocks aren’t bound by these limits. That begs the question, do we need our new circular-world to fit in with today’s petro-world? Or will we only succeed once we break free? Go back to chemical basics and design, for example, the perfect solvent for a chemical process rather than merely the best available at an affordable price. Can we reduce pressure/temperature/volume? Increase purity and yields? Eliminate toxicity? Still make money? Make more money? And what exactly is the circular bioeconomy? These questions and more will challenge you to ditch your thinking and consider a chemicals industry constrained only by imagination.”

PANEL SESSION: Green chemistry at commercial scale: is the future now?

Bio: “Dr Sarah Hickingbottom joined BioVale in September after 15 years commercial experience in business development/consultancy along the global bio-based chemicals value chain. Her expertise extends from agricultural commodity crops and biomass through to  end-use markets via the chemicals themselves. Sarah’s unique 360° perspective leverages a fruitful, decade-long partnership at LMC International which combined her background in chemicals consulting with LMC’s expertise in agricultural economics and forecasting. Sarah has advised scores of clients around the globe in due diligence; price forecasting; economic modelling; market research; opportunity analysis; feedstock sourcing strategies; sustainability; end-user needs and value chain analysis.

Sarah earned her Chemistry bachelor’s degree from Imperial College which included an ERASMUS year studying at the Institut für Organische Chemie in Hannover, Germany. She then moved to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to study for her Organic Chemistry Ph.D. with Sir J. Fraser Stoddart.”