Policy briefing on biomass availability

Bioenergy is an integral part of the UK’s plans to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction objectives. Addressing the question of biomass availability in the UK is key to scaling up deployment of bioenergy systems.

At the end of January, the Supergen Bioenergy Hub held a policy briefing on biomass availability, bringing together those involved in policy formulation with leading UK academic experts working in this area.

Hub researchers Iain Donnison, Rebecca Rowe, Andrew Welfle and Rob Holland presented relevant and recent findings to an audience of key representatives from the government departments for Transport; Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; and Environment Food and Rural Affairs. Attendees were invited to submit questions in advance to ensure the briefing was of optimal use to policymakers.

The briefing looked at biomass production factors such as land use, crop resilience, waste streams, environmental impact and end user demand to examine how policy can provide incentives and security along the biomass supply chain. Presentations also focused on the definitions of marginal land, how we identify and map marginal land, and how this can be related to current and developing policy and policy aspirations including for carbon, wider ecosystem services and the rural economy.

Topics covered by the researchers included:

  • Feedstock issues (sources, yield, resilience, quality, sustainability)
  • Land availability
  • Land issues (soil carbon, soil health, water yield, erosion, biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions)
  • Matching feedstocks to end use
  • New technologies
  • Greenhouse gas removal and sequestration
  • Bioenergy demand modelling
  • Biomass availability scenarios (energy crops, forestry residues and waste)
  • UK biomass potential vs UK energy demand
  • Spatial optimisation
  • ADVENT project (ADdressing Valuation of Energy and Nature Together)

If you would like more information on anything covered in the policy briefing, or would like to suggest topics for future briefings, please get in contact at supergen-bioenergy@aston.ac.uk.