The SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub small grant fund aimed to provide flexible, responsive funding of up to £20,000 (at 80% of full economic costs) to cover a range of bioenergy research-related activities. Funding from this call was not intended to cover basic research, but to support the activities of UK bioenergy researchers that are more difficult to fund via other established mechanisms. There was considerable flexibility around the range of activities that could be funded from the small grant fund and researchers are encouraged to be imaginative about what would actually move things forward in their area. The SUPERGEN Bioenergy hub project manager is available for informal conversations about the eligibility of specific suggestions, but it is envisaged that these could include research visits, secondments, development work on larger proposals, proof of market, collaborative workshops etc. Funding can also cover staff time at eligible institutes, travel, subsistence, consumables and small items of equipment relevant to the activity. 

NB: The small grant fund has now closed.

A short summary of some of the funded projects funded can be found below:

Lead Applicant


Research Project

Dr Chris Greenwell

University of Durham

Feasibility study to assess how opinions and perspectives differ of AD bioenergy between intra-and inter-community stakeholder groups of a well-received versus a controversial AD plant.

Dr Paul Adams

University of Bath

Biomass sustainability criteria (BSC) mean that bioenergy facilities must demonstrate greenhouse gas savings. One of the largest emission sources from biogas production is fugitive methane emissions that are difficult to measure and both industry and policy understanding is limited. This project will undertake measurements of methane emissions using industry expertise and secondments to improve the knowledge and development of policy.

Dr Phil Longhurst

Cranfield University

The project will commence with field sampling of biomass samples from identified UK contaminated sites where soil metal/metalloid concentrates are hire. Proximate and ultimate analysis will be carried out on all biomass samples. In particular, ICP-MS analysis will provide a detailed understanding of distribution and concentration of elemental species in biomass material. This information is essential in the later stage of the project using thermal equilibrium to calculate the fate of elemental species under typical gasification conditions.

Dr Nicola Favretto

UCL and Leeds

This is a scoping project to inform a large strategic bid under RCUK and the State of Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) bilateral agreement, which will address the key policy and socio-economic research gaps and identify replicable bioenergy models that pair large and small scale producers.

Dr Amanda Lea-Langton

University of Leeds

Emission analysis from two commonly used fuel efficient cook stoves burning locally relevant fuels. This will be done using existing Leeds University emissions test facilities, and will measure CO, NOx, N2O, CH4 and other gases using a GASMET FTIR analyser. A detailed particulate analysis will be conducted including particulate mass, size and characterisation.

Dr Mirjam Roeder

University of Manchester

Researcher exchange: The UK, which can be considered as a growing market, relies more heavily on biomethane for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), the substitution of fossil gas and the diversification of energy carriers. Within research collaboration with SUPERGEN partners in Manchester and Bath it is planned to transfer the biomethane market model methodology of Mr Horschig to the British biomethane market. This will contribute to a better effect-estimation of green economy supporting policies. Furthermore, it will allow estimating the amount of GHG emissions that can be saved depending on the supporting scheme.  

Patrick Mason

University of Leeds

It is proposed that Patrick Mason, University of Leeds PhD student, will visit Advanced Fuel Research Inc.  (AFR) based in Hartford, Connecticut for a period of 6 weeks during early 2016. The objectives of the visit are: 1.To allow the knowledge and expertise in modelling from Leeds and from AFR to be shared. 2. To apply the experimental data on biomass single particle combustion from Leeds to inform and assist in the development of the FG-Biomass modelling tool. 3.To use the enhanced FG-Biomass modelling tool to improve analysis capability and the understanding of biomass conversion and combustion. 4.To promote SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub and stimulate future collaborations by visiting Universities in the New England area and presenting the work being undertaken.

Dr Chunfei Wu

University of Hull

They will develop an ultrasound-enhanced laboratory scale catalytic reaction apparatus (as shown below) for the esterification of bio-oil. We will study the correlations between the processing parameters (e.g. ultrasound powers, frequencies, durations, temperature and pressure) and the efficiencies of the esterification process with the aim of significantly increasing the process performance in terms of acid conversion and catalyst stability. We expect to publish the results in high-impact journals (e.g. Energ Environ Sci), and pursue future funding from EPSRC and/or Innovate UK to broaden the relevant research.    

Dr Tanja Radu

Loughborough University

The proposed project would include long term testing of the monitoring platform and investigate its adaptation for simultaneous use at several small AD digesters. We would examine instrument’s performance at various biogas compositions, pressures and temperatures typical of the AD process range. Success in this proof of concept would lead to a further grant application to develop an expert machine control system, based on the monitor, to allow autonomous control and optimise performance remotely.                                                                                                                   

Dr Andrew Ross

University of Leeds

Our aim is to investigate the integration of HTC with AD and perform a scoping study including: (i)         Integration of HTC post AD to treat digestate. In this approach, HTC concentrates the carbon, removes alkali metals and produces a hydrophobic hydro-char with increased heating value and low residual biogas potential. (ii) Integration of HTC as pre-treatment to AD.  In this approach, feedstock is treated directly by HTC before entering AD, reducing levels of digestate altogether. (iii) The use of process water for increased biological methane potential (BMP). In this approach, the carbon in the process water (approx. 20%) high in volatile fatty acids and sugars is recycled to enhance biogas production.

Dr David Lawson


At present SRUC is carrying out a number of trials to quantify the methane productivity of a range of agricultural crops and number of vegetation types commonly found in Scotland. This is part of a strategy to increase diversification in land use and to increase the range of outputs from existing crop plants. The aim of these projects is to indicate which biomass types would be most appropriate for anaerobic digestion systems in Scotland.  Materials being tested include winter rye, beet and Triticale through to Molinia grassland.

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