This course will offer an update on the most recent applications of circular economy in biological systems (low-value, high volume materials) and will provide an overview of the essential properties of organic waste biomass, methods for their critical appraisal and how to use them to design closed loop processing systems.

Understanding the characteristics of the waste material is pivotal for implementing circular cycles. The course will develop the knowledge of the participant, introduce them to appropriate tools (waste characterisation and LCA etc) and combine all to solve a case-based problem. 

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Food production has traditionally been based on natural cycles (water, nutrients and soil). Growing urbanisation and industrialisation has pushed agriculture processes to become more efficient, but also further detached from natural cycles. Growing urbanisation and the separation of food production from food consumption has also caused the breakdown of a lot of these natural cycles, turning the processes from circular to linear. A circular economy will help to restore these broken cycles.

In the last 10 years, the waste hierarchy has been fundamental in reducing countries dependence from landfilling but more circular processes such as re-use and recycling are difficult to implement for organic waste (high-volume, low-value). AD and composting are already helping to restore some of the lost circularity, but more is needed. Processes such as waste biorefineries will be able to provide the opportunity for the re-use of residue streams in valuable external applications such as biochemical production or products extraction. 

This course will explore the available technologies, the challenges in selecting the best technology for a specific location/scale and explore the future challenges.  

At a glance

Course structure

This is a two-day interactive course including inspirational key note presentations, case studies, group work, practical workshops and facilitated discussions. As well as hearing from experts working in the biorefineries processes and resource management sectors, participants will have the opportunity to network with a cohort from a variety of backgrounds and industrial sectors about their own challenges of implementation.

What you will learn

Participants will, upon completing the course, be able to:

  • Appraise the role of waste treatment technologies under a circular management agenda - drivers, selection, pre-requisites requirements, waste types treated.
  • Elaborate on the waste materials that are currently processed into closed processing loops aligned with biological cycles (for example: composting and anaerobic digestion).
  • Demonstrate a critical appraisal of the waste biomass properties and how to use them to apply concepts and principles of the circular economy to design closed loop processing systems.

Core content

  • Integrated waste management: circular economy in the waste context.
  • Waste properties and characterisation.
  • Biowaste technologies: composting, AD and other biorefinery processes.
  • Circular economy biological cycles.
  • Case studies on emissions of closed loop industrial systems of waste. Waste bio refinery: novel technologies and public perceptions.

Who should attend

The two-day intensive course is suitable for all motivated individuals, innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders with an interest in biological processes in the context of a circular economy. No previous experience of biological technologies, resource management or the circular economy is necessary.


20% Discount for Cranfield University Alumni

30% Discount for members of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation CE100.

40% Discount for Ellen MacArthur Foundation Global Partners.

Accommodation options and prices

Accommodation is available at Mitchell Hall which is located on campus. All rooms are en-suite and bookings are on a half-board basis. If you would like to book accommodation for this short course at Mitchell Hall, please indicate this on the registration form and we will arrange this for you. 

Alternatively, you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world. 

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.