Focus on delivering impact at Supergen Bioenergy Hub launch event
On 14 November, we welcomed over 90 delegates to Aston University for the launch of the new impact-focused Supergen Bioenergy Hub, sharing our plans for the next four years with both new and familiar faces.
Director Patricia Thornley opened with an overview of the new hub and insight into fostering the enabling environment needed to deliver the hub’s ambitions. Jason Hallett from Imperial College London followed with our approach to incubating commercial potential, while Helen Sneddon from University of York discussed diffusing knowledge to support sustainable bioenergy deployment.
The new team of researchers from core academic partner institutions across the UK gave a comprehensive overview of their research projects, with details of collaboration opportunities and their plans for disseminating knowledge. The projects were split into two distinct categories of advanced novel technology projects and cross-cutting projects that aim to advance sustainability performance.
Michael Short, University of Surrey kicked off the technology projects session with a presentation on digitalisation for anaerobic digestion, followed by Paula Blanco-Sanchez, Aston University on gasification for hydrogen; Jun Li, University of Strathclyde on biowaste electrolysis; Manosh Paul, University of Glasgow, on hydrogen-BECCUS (bioenergy with carbon capture, utilisation and storage); Ruoyang Yuan, University of Sheffield on off-grid energy production; and Spiridon Siouris, University of Sheffield on sustainable aviation fuels.
The cross-cutting projects covered feedstock scale-up from Rob Holland, University of Southampton; biorefinery efficiency and scale-up from Ian Watson, University of Glasgow; and sustainability trade-offs from Mirjam Röder, Aston University; as well as global indirect land-use change (ILUC) from Patricia Thornley; biomass fractionation from Jason Hallett; and bio-based and biodegradable chemicals from Helen Sneddon.
Hub team members Catriona Heaton, Rebecca Fothergill and Joanna Sparks presented on our stakeholder and policy engagement work, including around the UK Biomass Strategy. Delegates heard how they could get involved in ongoing and new engagement activities, including the new industrial, professional, policy and public engagement forums. Sign up to stay updated on these and other activities.
Mirjam Röder presented on the hub’s planned international engagement strategy and activity, while Zoe Harris from University of Surrey, Sonia Heaven from University of Southampton and Paula Blanco-Sanchez gave an overview of the IEA Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme and encouraged attendees to get involved.
The new committee members leading our SHARE Network for early career researchers – Dan Taylor, Aston University; Akshay Bagde, University of Glasgow; Micheal Gargaro,University of Surrey; Dan Abudu, Aston University; and Collette Larkin, University of Edinburgh (in absentia) – delivered a presentation on their plans for a revitalised network.
Rebecca Rowe from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology presented on a forthcoming report on novel crops and forestry species for industrial biomass, which follows a workshop held earlier this year.
The day ended with a feedback session from key stakeholders and the wider audience. Gerard Davies from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Colin Miles from the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council – representing the hub’s joint funders – gave their perspective on what they want the hub to deliver over the next four years.
Industrial partners Amna Bezanty from KEW Technology, Alan Beesley from AlpsEcoscience and Rebecca Wheeler from Future Biogas shared their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for the new hub, before the question was opened to all attendees.
You can view all the presentations, along with the results from the feedback session, here.