A new £4.8M project funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to increase the amount of biomass crops grown in the UK, will launch at Low Carbon Agriculture Show at the NAEC, Stoneleigh, on 7th February 2023.
Biomass Connect is a new initiative that will showcase best-practice and innovations in biomass feedstock production at sites across the UK and through a biomass Information hub.
Dr Jeanette Whitaker, Biomass Connect lead and principal scientist in soils and land use at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), says the project is about supporting land managers to plant more sustainable biomass crops.
“Our project will act as a focal point for the biomass industry, supporting the expansion of sustainable biomass production in the UK.
“The Climate Change Committee indicates that expansion of biomass feedstock cultivation from 10,000 ha to 730,000 ha by 2050 is required to deliver net zero for the UK. This will require significant changes in agricultural land use over the coming decades,” says Jeanette.
“Launching our initiative at the Low Carbon Agriculture show therefore seemed the obvious choice to raise the profile of our project and discuss the challenges for the biomass sector at an event attended by individuals and organisations focused on decarbonising agriculture,” adds Jeanette.
The Biomass Connect launch will take place between 16:30 – 17:30 on Tuesday 7th February at the show and will include an outline of the project, information on why more sustainable biomass is crucial to reaching net zero, and how it can benefit farmers.
Biomass Connect is also represented in the show’s exhibition, with a stand for farmers to visit and understand which biomass crops could be suitable for them. There will also be a dedicated biomass area in the exhibition so farmers can speak directly with industry suppliers.
On day two of the event, there is a conference session discussing ‘The role of biomass in our energy security & net zero plans,’ chaired by Professor Patricia Thornley, director of the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute, with presentations from Professor Iain Donnison, head of the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), discussing ‘A guide to burning biomass for electricity generation, while capturing the carbon produced (BECCS)’, Callum Williams, project manager at Envirocrops, presenting ‘ A guide to selecting and growing the ‘best’ biomass crops, and Dr Jeanette Whitaker, principal scientist in soil and land use at UKCEH and Project Leader of Biomass Connect, outlining ‘Biomass Connect – encouraging best practice and innovations.’
Held in partnership with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), Low Carbon Agriculture show incorporates four expos including: ‘Environmental Business Expo’, ‘Farm Technology Expo’, ‘Energy Now Expo’ and ‘Low Emission Vehicles Expo.’
Low Carbon Agriculture will feature its renowned multi-streamed conference, workshops, an exhibition, test drives of low emission vehicles and machinery and demonstrations of the latest innovations in agri-tech.