Renewable energy innovation boosted by £37m government funding across the UK

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  • £32m government funding to increase UK production of sustainable biomass, which can be used as a renewable energy source
  • An additional £5m to support innovative new technologies that will generate hydrogen from biomass and waste
  • biomass can be used for low carbon energy and will play a key role as the UK develops renewables to end reliance on expensive fossil fuels

Innovative biomass projects across the UK have today (Thursday 4 August) received £37 million in funding as the government pushes ahead with its plan to develop household renewables, including from biomass.

Increasing Napier grass (miscanthus) growth, seaweed farming off the North Yorkshire coast and increasing willow harvesting capacity are among the 12 projects receiving a share of funding £32 million under Phase 2 of the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Program, which aims to find new ways to increase biomass production in the UK.

Also announced today were the 22 winners of the first stage of the Hydrogen BECCS programme, with £5 million in funding to help develop innovative technologies to produce hydrogen, a clean fuel that emits only water vapor when burned, from biomass and sustainable waste.

Biomass, a sustainable plant material, can be used to produce sustainable biofuels and aviation fuels, or to create chemicals for household cleaners and bioplastics. Biomass’ ability to deliver at scale has already been proven, having generated 12.6% of the UK’s total electricity in 2020, forming an important part of our plans to generate more local electricity and boost the Britain’s energy security.

Energy Minister Greg Hands said:

Accelerating local renewables like biomass is a key part of ending our reliance on expensive and volatile fossil fuels.

This £37 million government investment will support innovation across the UK, boosting jobs while ensuring greater energy security for years to come.

Backed by the Independent Climate Change Committee, biomass will form an important part of the UK’s future renewable energy mix, which will be vital to ensuring the UK’s energy security and reducing reliance on expensive fossil fuels.

Through Phase 2 of the Biomass Feedstock Innovation Program, projects will be developed from the design phase, which has been supported by government funding of £4 million, into full demonstration projects, showcasing new methods for growing sustainable biomass materials, which can be used to produce low-carbon energy. The projects will boost biomass productivity in the UK, through the selection, planting, growing and harvesting of organic energy materials.

Today’s winners include:

  • The University of Aberystwyth, Wales, which is receiving over £2million for its ‘Miscanspeed’ project, to accelerate the breeding of high-yielding and resilient miscanthus (elephant grass) – grass varieties well adapted to the use of biomass
  • SeaGrown Limited in Scarborough, which is receiving over £2.8million to develop new techniques for growing and harvesting seaweed off the North Yorkshire coast, taking advantage of the qualities of seaweed as a source of biomass and their ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere
  • Belfast’s Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, which is receiving over £1.5m for its ‘EnviroCrops’ project, developing an app to help farmers and land managers make informed decisions about planting perennial energy crops , helping to optimize biomass choices for a landing pad

Hydrogen BECCS The innovation program supports the development of technologies to produce hydrogen generated via ‘BECCS‘ (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage).

BECCS The technology can uniquely offer the ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as the CO2 absorbed during sustainable biomass growth and the organic content found in the waste can then be permanently removed from the atmosphere. using carbon capture technologies.

Hydrogen BECCS support the government’s plan to build a hydrogen economy, making hydrogen a clean fuel for use in hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as transport and heavy industry, while eliminating greenhouse gases of the atmosphere.

This government support for innovation in biomass production will help underpin the government’s plans to scale up and accelerate clean and renewable energy in the UK, to protect the UK’s domestic energy security. Support Pioneering Hydrogen BECCS will contribute to the government’s ambition to see hydrogen as the clean super fuel of the future, while encouraging green investment in the UK and supporting the creation of new jobs.

Hydrogen BECCS projects receiving funding today include:

  • the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, which is receiving £220,239 to develop an innovative and sustainable process to obtain hydrogen from organic matter present in different types of waste
  • the University of Leeds which is awarded £249,984 for its H2-Boost project, which aims to produce biohydrogen for the UK transport sector
  • 17Cicada Ltd in Stevenage which is awarded £237,065 to develop technology for producing hydrogen from bacteria

Stuart Fitzgerald, Managing Director of White Horse Energy, said:

White Horse Energy is excited to move into Phase 2 of the Biomass Feedstock Innovation Program with our mobile granulation innovation. Our technology will revolutionize the production of low carbon, locally produced energy for the UK market, and we can’t wait to get started!

Kevin Chown, Chief Operating Officer at Kew Projects, said:

BECCS Hydrogen-generating systems have enormous potential to provide commercially viable removal of greenhouse gases, while supporting the development of the hydrogen economy with low-cost hydrogen supply.

KEW has identified innovative approaches for the separation of product H2 from CO2 for sequestration, and the BEIS funding will be instrumental in enabling the demonstration and acceleration of a more efficient and cost-effective process H2BECCS deployment.

Dr Paul Carver, CEO of New Energy Farms EU Ltd said:

The BEIS The initiative is a key program to help the UK’s climate change goals. New Energy Farms EU Ltd is very pleased to be able to contribute its efforts and technologies to expanding the supply of biomass feedstock in the UK.

Paul Willacy, Managing Director of Compact Syngas Solutions said:

We are delighted to have successfully secured government funding for our Hydrogen BECCS Innovation project. The ability to capture and store carbon from our gasification process while making hydrogen brings us closer to producing cleaner, greener hydrogen and the goal of net zero emissions.

Notes to Editors

Biomass and hydrogen feedstocks BECCS Innovation programs are both funded by the BEIS £1B Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

Biomass Feedstock Innovation Program

Hydrogen BECCS Innovation program

  • Hydrogen BECCS the program supports the development of core technologies essential for the generation of hydrogen from biomass and waste with the ability to capture carbon
  • Phase 1 will be followed by a second phase, where Phase 1 winners can apply for additional funding to support their hydrogen demonstration BECCS Technology
  • see the list of all Phase 1 winners
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