Circa Group Pty Ltd
34 Norfolk Court
Coburg North VIC 3058 Australia
Telephone +61 (3) 9354 3421
Twitter @circagroup

Tony Duncan
Chief Executive Officer

Warwick Raverty
Chief Scientist

c/o Bio 21, Flemington Road

+61 419 303 117

Circa Group is converting waste biomass into advanced biochemical materials.



Press release - Dr Jason Camp’s work on sugar-powered catalysis “opens up exciting opportunities”

Nigel Rowe

INSPIRED by nature, University of Huddersfield scientist Dr Jason Camp is pioneering the use of simple sugars to power chemical reactions.  It means that industries such as pharmaceuticals and agro-chemicals will have a renewable, inexpensive and non-toxic method of catalysis.  The project has received financial backing from several leading firms.

 Dr Camp, who is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Sciences at the University’s School of Applied Sciences, has been exploring sugar-powered catalysis for the last six years.  He heads a group of scientists at Huddersfield and also the University of Nottingham – where he was previously based - who are carrying out the research.  Their findings are being relayed in presentations and articles, with the latest appearing in the new edition of RSC Advances, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The article concludes with the claim that “our study provides the groundwork for a simple technology that opens up exciting opportunities” by harnessing the reducing potential of renewable sugars.

The concept of sugar-powered catalysis has also attracted interest at the House of Commons, when University of Huddersfield chemistry student David Austin – who has been working with Dr Camp – took part in an event showcasing the UK’s best undergraduate research.

Dr Camp said that although biological processes were the basis for his work, the research is pure chemistry. “We are inspired by nature, but we don’t use enzymes or biological processes.”

Sugars have been used for catalysis in the past, said Dr Camp, but techniques such as advanced spectroscopy have enabled him and his co-researchers to make key breakthroughs such as the requirement to minimize oxygen from the system in order to allow for a sugar-powered process.

The researchers have investigated a variety of reducing sugars – including sucrose and fructose – but glucose has become their principal focus.  Dr Camp and his team are also examining the use of environmentally-benign solvent that contains no oil-derived substances. To this end, a collaboration has been formed with the multi-national company Circa, which is a pioneer in the processing of cellulose into a novel green solvent.

Dr Camp and his team have also attracted financial backing from a wide range of UK-based companies, including AstraZeneca, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Vertex and Johnson Matthey.

Further information:  

Tony Duncan (CEO):
Dr Warwick Raverty (Chief Scientist):


Press release - High growth market opportunities support investment

Nigel Rowe

Initial results from a study undertaken for Circa with funding support from the UK Government’s innovation agency - Innovate UK – are confirming the opportunity for a secondary supply of the high potency flavouring, dairy lactone.

The work is being undertaken to establish the business case for a local facility to manufacture dairy lactone using Circa’s renewable feedstock based levoglucosenone as the starting material.

Dairy lactone (FEMA 3780, cas 18679-18-0) is a nature identical molecule, found naturally in some dairy products, with a sweet, dairy taste that when used in very small quantities, provides customers with improved organoleptic sensations.

Circa, The University of New England and AgroParisTech have successfully collaborated to develop a patented cost effective process for the manufacture of this valuable dairy flavouring.

The breakthrough provides food and drink manufacturers new opportunities to develop novel products and maintain dairy flavours where consumer health demands require a limited use of dairy; or environmental constraints limit the availability of dairy products. In some Western markets, up to 15% of the population avoid dairy in their diet, and 20% avoid lactose. This study indicates that sales of lactose-free products is expected to increase by 75% over the next 4-5 years.

Opportunities in high growth "dairy flavour" markets include:

  1. health specific dairy products (reduction in fat / lactose)
  2. demand from food companies to reduce their environmental footprints (e.g. usage of water).
  3. dairy flavour opportunities in non-dairy products (soy milk / sorbet / croissants)
  4. Pediatric medicines

“As we move towards commissioning our FC5 Levoglucosenone prototype plant later in 2016, we need to keep identifying and executing downstream opportunities,” commented Tony Duncan, CEO of Circa, “Along with Cyrene, our renewable solvent; dairy lactone is a key opportunity. A product that can be produced sustainably for a supply constrained and fast growing  market.

Further information

Tony Duncan (CEO):
Dr Warwick Raverty (Chief Scientist):