Supergen Bioenergy Hub

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Participants Organisations
  • Iain Donnison (PI)Department of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences
  • EP Thornley (PI)Aston University
  • Anthony Bridgwater (CoI)Aston University
  • K Chong (CoI)Aston University
  • Jason Hallett (CoI)Imperial College London
  • C Hardacre (CoI)The University of Manchester
  • RA Holland (CoI)University of Southampton
  • MC McManus (CoI)University of Bath
  • M Roeder (CoI)Aston University
  • R. L. Rowe (CoI)Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC)

Funding

  • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council: £488,710.00

Funder Project Reference(s)

EP/J017302/1
Effective start/end date01 Nov 201831 Oct 2022

Description

Biomass is plant or woody material that during its growth has absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis . When the biomass is used to produce bioenergy it re-releases to atmosphere the same amount of CO2 as was sequestered during growth. Therefore, as long as biomass growth is close in time period to release there is no net addition to the long term atmospheric CO2 concentration. However, some aspects of processing and using the biomass may generate additional greenhouse gas emissions that need to be accounted for and, given that the UK is trying to decrease all carbon emissions it is important that we make efficient use of our biomass resource by maximizing the production and use of truly sustainable resource and developing efficient pre-treatment and conversion technologies. It is also important that we make the best use of the sustainable biomass resource and fully understand the wider impact and costs of implementation.

This project brings together leading UK bioenergy research groups to develop sustainable bioenergy systems that support the UK's transition to an affordable, resilient, low-carbon energy future. We will synthesize previous work on land and feedstock availability to assess the realistic potential resource for UK bioenergy and examine new crops that could support UK farming by delivering ecosystem benefits as well as biomass resource. We will test the performance of different feedstocks in high efficiency conversion options and develop new techniques which will improve resource efficiency in bioenergy systems, especially at small scale. We will evaluate the impact of using biomass for heat, electricity, transport fuels or chemicals to provide independent, authoritative information to guide decision making by industrialists and policy makers. We will assess the potential for bioenergy to contribute a proportion of the UK's future sustainable energy mix, taking into account the environmental, economic and social impacts of the processes.

We will work with industrialists and policy makers to ensure that our work is relevant to their needs and reflects achievable implementation standards. We will share our findings in our research work widely with the industry and policy communities and make it accessible to societal stakeholders on our website, via special publications, in the conventional and on social media and with tailored events for public engagement.