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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Renewable energy innovation boosted by £37m govt funding across UK

Innovative biomass projects across the UK have been awarded £37 million in funding, as the government drives forward its plan to scale up domestic renewable energy, including from biomass.

Greg Hands
UK Energy Minister, Greg Hands

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

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

Biomass’ ability to deliver at scale has already been proven, having generated 12.6% of total UK electricity in 2020, forming an important part of our plans to generate more home-grown power and strengthen Britain’s energy security.

Energy Minister, Greg Hands, said: “Accelerating home-grown renewables like biomass is a key part of ending our dependency on expensive and volatile fossil fuels.”

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 for ensuring the UK’s energy security and reducing reliance on expensive fossil fuels.

Through Phase 2 of the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, projects will be developed from the design stage, which was supported with £4 million government funding, into full demonstration projects, showcasing new methods to grow sustainable biomass materials.

The winners include:

  • Aberystwyth University, Wales, which is receiving over £2 million for their “Miscanspeed” project
  • SeaGrown Limited in Scarborough, which is receiving over £2.8 million to develop new techniques to farm and harvest seaweed off the North Yorkshire coast
  • Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Belfast, which is receiving over £1.5 million for their “EnviroCrops” project

The Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme supports the development of technologies to produce hydrogen generated via “BECCS” (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage).

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

This government backing for innovation in biomass production will help support the government’s plans to scale up and accelerate clean, renewable energy in the UK, to protect the UK’s domestic energy security. Supporting trailblazing hydrogen BECCS technology will help further the government’s ambition to see hydrogen as the clean super-fuel of the future, while also encouraging green investment into the UK and supporting the creation of new jobs.

Courtesy: Climate Action

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