£ 4million funding to boost UK biomass production

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  • 24 projects will receive government funding of up to £ 200,000 to increase UK production of biomass that can be used as a source of green energy
  • projects include growing algae from whiskey making, increasing yields of grass varieties and accelerating reproduction of willows
  • biomass is used for the production of low carbon renewable energy and is a key part of the UK’s commitment to tackle climate change

Growing algae and growing algae from the byproducts of whiskey making are among 24 projects today (Wednesday 25 August) receiving £ 4million government funding to boost production biomass production.

The 24 innovative projects, from start-ups and family businesses to research institutes and universities, will receive funding of up to £ 200,000 from the government’s Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Program to produce energy at low carbon emission using organic materials.

The projects will boost biomass productivity in the UK, through the selection, planting, cultivation and harvesting of organic energy materials.

Biomass refers to sustainably derived plant material that could be used as fuel to generate energy or to create products such as chemicals and bioplastics. This is a small but important part of the renewable energy mix that the UK needs to meet its commitment to eradicate its contribution to climate change by 2050 – and is also supported by the Independent Committee of the United Kingdom. United Kingdom on climate change.

Materials derived from biomass include non-food energy crops such as grasses and hemp, materials from forestry operations, and materials of marine origin such as algae and algae.

Energy Minister Lord Callanan said:

Working on the development of new, greener types of fuels like biomass is an important part of building a diverse and green energy mix that we will need to meet our climate change goals.

We are supporting UK innovators to ensure we have a local supply of biomass material, which is part of our broader plans to continue reducing carbon emissions while building greener again.

Funding recipients

Today’s funding recipients include:

  • Rickerby Estates Ltd in Carlisle has received over £ 150,000 to study intensifying willow crop harvesting using new cutting edge technology such as automated processing machines controlled by satellite guidance systems GPS
  • Green Fuels Research Limited in Gloucestershire has received over £ 190,000 for a project that will produce microscopic algae for biomass using wastewater from breweries and dairy industries
  • SeaGrown Limited in Scarborough will use funding of over £ 180,000 to develop new techniques for cultivating and harvesting seaweed off the North Yorkshire coast, taking advantage of the qualities of seaweed as a source of biomass and its ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere
  • Impact Laboratories Limited in Stirlingshire, Scotland received over £ 170,000 to examine innovation in commercial seaweed cultivation using heat provided by geothermally heated water from abandoned mine sites
  • Aberystwyth University in Wales has received over £ 160,000 for its ‘Miscanspeed’ project, which seeks ways to improve the breeding of high yielding and resilient Miscanthus or elephant grass – des varieties of grass well suited to biomass use – in the UK

With government funding of £ 4million, the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Program will see a greater supply of organics from domestic sources rather than using imported materials, with all 24 projects supporting economies rural areas in the UK, including creating jobs and encouraging investment.

The innovation program for biomass feedstocks is funded by the net zero innovation portfolio of the Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This supports the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution which sets out the approach the government will take to better rebuild, support green jobs and accelerate our path to net zero.

UK Net Zero Business Champion Andrew Griffith said:

Innovation is crucial to achieving a low carbon future and it is fantastic that the UK is home to so many world-renowned entrepreneurial talent who will help us deliver on our climate change commitments.

Not only will this funding for biomass feedstocks help achieve net zero by 2050, it rightfully rewards innovative people and companies who are leading the way for a better and cleaner future.

The UK government intends to release a new Biomass Strategy in 2022 that will look at how much sustainable biomass is available in the UK and how it could best be used in the economy to help achieve net zero and the government’s broader environmental commitments.

Dr Matthew Brown, co-founder of Forest Creation Partners, said:

This government funding will allow us to find more places to plant trees across the country, fighting climate change and supporting nature and local communities.

We are proud to be part of Britain’s global leadership in using data science to create a greener and better world.

Dr Sébastien Jubeau and Dr Douglas McKenzie, founders of Phycofoods, operating under the name of Phyco-F, said:

At Phyco-F, we are delighted to have won a contract to assess the feasibility of producing microalgae in large industrial quantities using CO2 and nutrients produced as by-products of whiskey production.

If this assessment is promising, we will work with our partners in the whiskey industry to develop a plan for the UK’s first demonstration plant to be operational before the end of 2023.

In November 2020, the government launched the brand Together for our planet which provides practical tools, resources and advice to help businesses take action on climate change, understand their emissions and develop a plan to deal with it.

Notes for Editors

  • the innovation program for biomass raw materials is funded by the net zero innovation portfolio of the Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which aims to accelerate the commercialization of innovative technologies and processes of clean energy in the 2020s and 2030s.
  • this competition takes place in 2 phases, one building on the other, to produce innovations that tackle some of the obstacles to the production of raw materials, thus helping to increase the supply of sustainable biomass in the Kingdom – United in the years to come
  • in phase 1, suppliers will receive full funding to produce robust project plans for innovations which, if implemented, would make a positive material contribution to the UK raw material supply
  • in phase 2, successfully progressing phase 1 projects will promulgate their project plans, successfully building, operating, testing, refining and evaluating innovations and having a clear path to commercialization for deployment

Read the full list of successful projects.

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