Biomass Strategy: Priority uses

The UK Government has published its Biomass Strategy, outlining their view on the role biomass will play in supporting the UK’s transition to net zero and how this will be achieved.

We worked closely with teams from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and other government departments to provide scientific evidence, context and insight to inform the strategy.

The information below provides context to the Biomass Strategy along with comment from lead academics in the Supergen Bioenergy Hub.

Priority uses of biomass

Biomass has a plethora of end uses, with the potential to displace fossil feedstocks from a range of energy applications from domestic heating and transport fuel to electricity generation, and to displace the use of fossil feedstock and materials derived from them in manufacturing and construction. Given the variety of possible uses and the finite nature of biomass resources, prioritisation of biomass use is key to unlocking the potential of biomass to contribute to net zero.

The priority use framework outlined in the Biomass Strategy makes eminent sense. Approaches for carbon dioxide removal are essential to delivering on net zero and global climate targets. BECCS has a key role to play in that and is rightly prioritised in the strategy. However, it is also reassuring to see acknowledgement of the diversity of important roles for biomass with inclusion of biomethane, off gas-grid heating, transport fuels, industrial uses, hydrogen, and non-energy applications such as bio-based materials and chemicals, and recognition of the need to utilise biomass in applications that are hard to decarbonise in other ways. It is right that these should be bound by principles related to sustainability, net zero, circular economy and resource efficiency. However, the challenges of delivering this balancing act should not be underestimated.

This strategy provides a way to unlock the decarbonisation potential of biomass, provided that we quickly follow through with frameworks that operationalise the key priorities. The Supergen Bioenergy Hub and Aston University are leading initiatives on BECCS and biomass-dervied hydrogen, including development of appropriate road maps and policy frameworks, and we are looking forward to working with industry and policy partners to push forward delivery.


Lead author: Joanna Sparks, Biomass Policy Fellow, Supergen Bioenergy Hub, Aston University

Patricia Thornley, Director of the Supergen Bioenergy Hub and Energy Bioproducts Research Institute, Aston University


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