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UK research hub to advance bioenergy tech

SUPERGEN hub will address “burning bioenergy questions”

The research hub will advance boienergy plant technology
The research hub will advance bioenergy plant technology

A research hub has been set up in the UK to accelerate the deployment of sustainable bioenergy technologies. The SUPERGEN hub, which spans six research institutions and 10 industrial partners, aims to focus on advancing bioenergy processes, developing techniques and boosting efficiency.

Initially the hub will focus on 10 research projects. This ranges from turning biomass into transportation fuels to capturing carbon dioxide from burning biomass feedstocks.

Dr Patricia Thornley, hub director, said: “The SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub is going to really drill into a whole host of bioenergy prospects. It is not just going to look at what will work practically, in terms of generating power, but also the impact of such technologies. This is vitally important; we have to look at the sustainability of these new avenues.”

Examples of projects include one from Aston University, Birmingham, involving the analysis of novel biofuel technologies to screen for the most promising technology options. Another, which Manchester University is leading, will look at investigating greenhouse gas impacts at various stages of the biofuel supply chain. This aims to allow producers to maximise greenhouse gas savings. 

The hub has been given a GBP 3.5m grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and is scheduled to begin work on 1 August 2012.

Professor David Delpy, EPSRC’s chief executive, said: “The scientific research carried out through the SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub can help us discover new and better ways of making fuels, generating power, managing carbon emissions and create economic opportunities for the UK.”