Back to previous page

Industrial Biotechnology (IB) companies who choose to locate in Scotland can tap into our natural assets and growing expertise. In fact, there are already 50 companies using IB as a process, a product or a service here. This number is set to grow, with a target of 200 companies by 2025.

Sharing resources

Locating your IB business in Scotland could mean partnering with an existing company. Infrastructure such as feedstock sources, water supplies, effluent facilities, power, port and freight access can be shared.

Making use of valuable waste products is already transforming industries. There are particular locations where shared resources are helping create greener companies. And you'll find that government agencies are supportive and knowledgeable.

Three places to start right now

Here are three locations where specific IB opportunities are currently available: Grangemouth in central Scotland, Guardbridge, near St Andrews, Fife and Irvine Bay, North Ayrshire.

Scotland offers all the ingredients for industrial biotech success

Chemical lab worker

Discover what Scotland can do for you.

Grangemouth, central Scotland. Strategically strong

Grangemouth is home to INEOS and the largest chemicals manufacturing site and a crude oil refinery in Scotland. It provides all of Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England’s petrol and diesel.  Other manufacturing and chemical companies are located here too: FujiFilm, Syngenta, Calachem and Versalis.

Grangemouth is located in the heart of Scotland, half-way between our two largest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh. It is a strategic location with excellent airport, motorway access and train links, and Scotland’s largest container port. The area provides:

  • Highest concentration of chemical companies in Scotland
  • A collaborative approach among business in the existing cluster
  • Well established skills base and close links with universities and colleges
  • Supportive local and national Government frameworks
  • Development sites with potential assistance for site preparation and infrastructure

INEOS has recently invested £450 million in its Grangemouth site. The vision is to create a chemical sciences hub comparable to the best in Europe. 200 acres of development-ready land is potentially available at the INEOS site including:

  • Fully serviced plots with access to key feedstocks and utilities, suitable for chemical manufacturers
  • Plots suitable for supply chain companies

As part of its investment, INEOS has constructed Europe's largest ethane storage tank and a jetty terminal at Grangemouth.  Shale gas ethane is being imported from the USA to provide long term secure, competitive feedstock for its ethylene cracker. It is one of only four gas crackers in Europe capable of using ethane gas to manufacture ethylene. Sources of ethylene and propylene are also available to companies considering relocating.
A separate integrated site at Earls Gate Park, Grangemouth offers fully-serviced sites with specialised site services for chemical manufacturing. This site offers: 

  • Competitive heat (steam) and power plant 
  • Natural gas, nitrogen and compressed air network
  • Waste water treatment
  • Volume water supply 
  • Operation and maintenance capability 

There is a variety of financial support available if you invest in Scotland.

Find out about financial support

Guardbridge, St Andrews in Fife. Space to collaborate

A former paper mill site at Guardbridge, is a new location for small and medium-sized industrial biotechnology companies. The site is owned by the University of St Andrews.
It offers biotechnology companies a unique opportunity to collaborate with a world-renowned research university and provide solutions to international industry challenges. 
Many of the components of an integrated bio-refinery are currently being evaluated or developed. This includes:

  • Biomass materials handing facility
  • Gasification to power or fuels, and carbon capture to product infrastructure. 
  • Local micro distillery and brewery produces whisky, gin and beer 
  • Access to low carbon electricity, heat and cooling

The site already hosts a new large wood-based boiler to supply hot water to university buildings, 6 km away in St Andrews. New private heat and electricity networks will provide low carbon energy.

Academic expertise on your doorstep

The University of St Andrews is aspiring to be the UK’s first carbon neutral university for energy. It is applying the same principles to the Guardbridge site. 

It is looking to integrate community-sized biocircular solutions between biotechnology and low carbon energy. These include carbon dioxide to product activities, and value extraction from different waste streams before use for energy or clean fuel production. 

The site offers a range of different sized offices, lab accommodation and high-height industrial space, suitable for biotechnology processes. Close links with the University means companies locating here can benefit from expertise in a wide range of subject areas, including marine and ocean studies, fish egg selection, membranes, lignin, biomass, syn and biogas optimisation, and catalysts. The university is a world leader in the area of advanced materials and can also offer biotechnology companies access to supporting services and equipment.

How can we help?

  • Interested in what Scotland can offer your company?
  • Speak to an advisor in over 40 offices in around 20 countries.
Irvine Bay, North Ayrshire. Global neighbours

The Irvine Enterprise Area has large, flat, serviced plots available for development. There are premises under construction including factory, office, and specialist pharmaceutical facilities.

  • Industrial-scale supplies of water, gas and electricity
  • High-capacity drainage and diverse fibre links are also available

North Ayrshire is home to many global companies: Magnox, EDF, UPM Caledonian, GSK, DSM, Merck and Chemring. There are opportunities to benefit from infrastructure already in place.

For example, UPM Caledonian is a major papermill. It uses wood largely from local Scottish forestry in East Ayrshire and Argyll. A biomass boiler converts the waste wood (such as bark) to energy. There are opportunities to share existing infrastructure.

GlaxoSmithKline has invested around £100 million in their plant since 2012. The company plays an important anchoring role in the area. They have valuable infrastructure which they are willing to discuss sharing with incoming companies. 

The Irvine area offers several benefits: 

  • Skilled labour market
  • High quality specialist supply companies
  • Supportive approach to planning
  • Excellent transport links to the central belt of Scotland 
  • International travel via Prestwick and Glasgow airports
Tax and other benefits

There are tax benefits for locating within this Enterprise Area. Accelerated capital allowances are available to businesses investing in plant and machinery together with business rates relief which is available to qualifying businesses in the life sciences sector.

Other locations. Fresh possibilities

Throughout Scotland there are other sites which offer excellent opportunities for industrial biotechnology. In the north of Scotland, there are development opportunities at sites with good supplies of feedstocks such as seaweed, fish waste and timber. 

Find out more about industrial biotechnology in Scotland and how we can help you locate, co-locate or collaborate here:

Get in touch