Andy Street opened the new facilities at the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI).
EBRI at Aston conducts research into all aspects of bioenergy, including energy-from-waste and the development of new bio-products and services – all of which contribute to improving the UK’s carbon footprint and improving security of energy supplies.
The centre’s new analytical, biological and thermal processing facilities were officially opened by Street.
"When it comes to engineering and energy, Aston is playing a key role and that is nothing new, it has been so for 50 years.
"Energy and renewables are a critical part of our economic plan and it is a real strength of ours in the West Midlands giving us more power in the sector.
"I am really looking forward to the outcome of the research being undertaken at EBRI, we are looking forward to the insights that are going to come out, the innovation you will drive and companies that might be set up off the back of the research that you will do here."
Vice-chancellor Prof Alec Cameron added:
"It is a great honour to welcome Andy to campus to officially open the new EBRI labs.
"Aston’s School of Engineering has well over 40 years’ successful research into bioenergy and with the launch of EBRI five years ago and the investment from the ERA into these new facilities, we are set to see more ground-breaking work in this critically important area of research."
Emma Kelly, chief operating officer, Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) said:
"EBRI is renowned for the leading role it plays in bioenergy research and the equipment that we have invested in, thanks to Innovate UK, will enable it to stay at the forefront of bioenergy innovation.
"In addition, EBRI is also doing great work in showing small business owners in the Midlands how they can benefit from the opportunities available in bioenergy, through their Bioenergy Masterclasses.
"These enthusiastic entrepreneurs are also able to take advantage of the wealth of expertise at EBRI and also the new facilities that we have supported."
The new labs have been funded by the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) initiative.