Supergen Bioenergy Hub awards flexible funding to projects investigating microalgae and land use implications

We are delighted to announce the two successful recipients of our flexible funding challenge call in the areas of land use change, anaerobic digestion and marine biomass. 

Dr Ian Watson of the University of Glasgow has been awarded £100k to work on “removing bottlenecks from microalgal processing for demand-led whole algal partitioning for nutritional and biofuel end-use”.

Dr Watson will work with Dr Siming You and Dr Emilie Combet (both University of Glasgow), Professor Paul Williams (University of Leeds), Dr Maio Guo (Kings College London), Professor Mariana Penuela (Universidad Antiquia, Colombia), Intellidigest Ltd, Lind Products Ltd and North Lincs Biofuel Ltd, to investigate novel photobioreactors for enhanced growth, reduced water usage and improved downstream processing for high value nutritional products and biofuel. Knowledge developed from the project has the potential to radically alter the philosophy behind microalgae biorefineries, from growth, extraction and product partitioning; providing realistic solutions and opportunities for scaled systems and removing the barriers to commercialisation.

The second award of £94k was made to Dr Robert Holland from the University of Southampton to work on his project entitled “Global land use implications in a demand-driven food and decarbonised energy system (GlobalFEEDS)”.

Dr Holland will work with colleagues from the University of Southampton, University College London and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to  examine questions of critical importance for UK policy around energy and the environment. A harmonised set of projections of future climate and socioeconomic conditions will be combined with state-of-the-art models developed by the project partners, to address question around the sustainability of future bioenergy demand. Insights provided by the project will contribute to our understanding of the overseas impact of future UK bioenergy demand, and thus will be of direct relevance to the UK’s future biomass strategy as well as broader environmental commitments such as those detailed in the 25-year Environment Plan.

Our two newest Flex Funding Awards build on the themes developed at the workshops we ran in September. They significantly extend the work of the Supergen Bioenergy Hub in a way that we think is particularly relevant to the future of bioenergy in the UK, addressing land-use tensions, focusing on algae and looking at broader ecosystem impacts of bioenergy.”  – Hub Director, Prof. Patricia Thornley