UK funds projects to boost production of biomass

Article by Amanda Doyle

THE UK Government has awarded £4m (US$5.5m) across 24 projects to increase biomass production that can be used for green energy.

Each project will receive up to £200,000 as part of the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, which is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

One of the aims of the programme is to produce a greater domestic supply of organic materials. It is being run in two phases, with the initial phase seeing projects receiving funding to produce innovative project plans, and the second phase for successful projects to enact their plans towards commercialisation.

Energy Minister Lord Callanan said: “Working to develop new and greener types of fuel like biomass is an important part of building the diverse and green energy mix that we will need to achieve our climate change targets. We are backing UK innovators to ensure we have a homegrown supply of biomass materials, which is part of our wider plans to continue driving down carbon emissions as we build back greener.”

The projects include:

  • Green Fuels Research, for a project to produce algae for biomass from brewery and dairy wastewater;
  • Phycofoods, for using whisky byproducts to enhance microalgal biomass;
  • HEMP-30, led by the University of York, to accelerate the production and utilisation of industrial hemp as a biorefinery crop; and
  • BioFIND, to design and plan a UK-wide multi-site demonstration platform for biomass feedstock production.

Sebastien Jubeau and Douglas McKenzie, founders of Phycofoods, trading as Phyco-F, said: “At Phyco-F we are delighted to have been awarded a contract to evaluate the feasibility of producing microalgae at significant industrial quantities using CO2 and nutrients produced as byproducts of whisky production.

If this evaluation is promising, we will work with our partners in the whisky industry to develop a plan for the UK’s first demonstration plant that will be operating before the end of 2023.”

The UK Government is expected to publish its biomass strategy next year which will outline how biomass can best be used to help meet net zero targets.

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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