Recently, 24 projects based in the UK were awarded with £4 million funding by the government to help boost biomass production in the UK.
These 24 projects include start-ups, research universities, institutes, and family-run businesses. All the projects will receive funding to £200,000 from Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, to produce low-carbon energy using organic materials.
In the long run, this project will aim to boost the overall biomass production in the UK specifically through activities like breeding, planting, cultivating, and harvesting of organic items.
Biomass refers to plant material that can be used as a substitute for fuel and product energy. It is a highly significant part of the renewable energy mix and an essential aspect of the UK’s plans to reach Net Zero emissions, and mitigate climate change, by 2050. For the unversed, all of this is also backed by the UK’s independent committee on climate change.
At the fundamental level, any biomass material includes non-food energy crops which are mainly grasses or hemp or any other material coming from forestry operations, and also marine-based materials like algae and seaweed.
Here’s what Energy Minister Lord Callanan had to say on the topic:
Working to develop new and greener types of fuel like biomass is an important part of building a 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.
Funding recipients include:
The Rickerby Estates Ltd located in Carlisle has received more than £150,000. This will be used to look at scaling up the overall harvesting of willow crops.
Green Fuels Research Limited in Gloucestershire, has received a total funding of more than £190,000. This amount will be used for a project wherein microscopic algae will be produced for biomass.
SeaGrown Limited in Scarborough will use its allocated funding of about £180,000 to develop innovative techniques for harvesting & farming seaweed. It will greatly assist in removing carbon from the atmosphere.
Impact Laboratories based in Scotland received an amount of £170,000 that will be used for the cultivation of algae. The method for the same will be processed by utilising heat from geothermally-warmed water taken from abandoned mine sites.
Aberystwyth University based in Wales received funding of £160,000 for their ‘Miscanspeed’ project. This project will be looking at ways for improving the breeding of high-yielding elephant grass.
Dr. Matthew Brown, the co-founder of Forest Creation Partners, said that he is proud to have been a part of Britain’s global leadership for creating a greener and better world. While Dr. Sebastien Jubeau and Dr. Douglas McKenzie founders of Phycofoods highlighted the importance of developing a plan for the UK’s first demonstration plant which will go in the works before 2023.
The UK government is aiming to publish a new biomass strategy in 2022. Its objective will be to review the amount of sustainable biomass that’s available and how best it could be used to help achieve net zero while creating a sustainable future.