£4 million funding to boost UK biomass production

25 Aug 2021 02:58 PM

24 projects receive government funding of up to £200,000 to increase UK production of biomass that can be used as sources of green energy.

Farming seaweed and growing algae from the by-products of whisky manufacturing are among 24 projects yesterday (Wednesday, 25 August) awarded £4 million government funding to boost biomass production.

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

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

Biomass refers to sustainably derived plant material that could be used as fuel to produce energy or to create products such as chemicals and bio-plastics. It is a small but important part of the renewable energy mix that the UK requires to meet its commitment to eradicate its contribution to climate change by 2050 - and is also backed by the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change.

Biomass materials include non-food energy crops such as grasses and hemp, material from forestry operations and marine-based materials such as algae and seaweed.

Energy Minister Lord Callanan yesterday said:

Working to develop new and greener types of fuel like biomass is an important part of building a 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.

Funding recipients

Yesterday’s funding recipients include:

As a result of the £4 million government funding, the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme will enable greater supply of organic materials from domestic sources rather than using imported matter, with the 24 projects supporting rural economies across the UK, including providing jobs and encouraging investment.

The Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme is funded through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. This supports the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution that sets out the approach government will take to build back better, support green jobs, and accelerate our path to net zero.

UK Net Zero Business Champion Andrew Griffith yesterday said:

Innovation is crucial to achieve a low carbon future and it’s fantastic that the UK is home to so much world-leading entrepreneurial talent that will help us meet our climate change commitments.

Not only will this funding for biomass feedstocks help to achieve net zero by 2050, but it rightly rewards innovative people and businesses that are leading the way to a brighter, cleaner future.

The UK government intends to publish a new biomass strategy in 2022 which will review the amount of sustainable biomass available to the UK and how this could be best utilised across the economy to help achieve the government’s net zero and wider environmental commitments.

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

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

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

Dr Sebastien Jubeau and Dr Douglas McKenzie founders of Phycofoods, trading as Phyco-F, yesterday 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 by-products 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.

In November 2020, the government launched the brand Together For Our Planet which provides practical tools, resources and advice to support companies to take action on climate change, understand their emissions and develop a plan to tackle them.

Notes for Editors

Read a full list of successful projects.

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