We launched our new ‘Wetland Biomass to Bioenergy scheme’ at the beginning of last month. For those of you not familiar with wetland management or bioenergy, this essentially means that we want encourage the use of reeds, rushes and other plant species that already harvested from UK wetlands during conservation activities, to produce energy. This is exciting because currently, this material is often burned or left to decompose, causing greenhouse gas emissions and wasting valuable land on wetland sites.
This particular scheme aims to demonstrate the feasibility of sustainably producing bioenergy using biomass arising from wetland management activities. If successful, the project will see this material being converted to energy, increasing the UK’s supply of bioenergy and in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions more favourably than a fossil fuel equivalent.
The key objective of the programme is to stimulate innovation. So to encourage this, DECC is providing 100% funding for eligible pre-commercial research and development activities. We’ve also kept the scope of the call open to all bioenergy technologies to maximise the opportunity for innovative ideas from the supply chain, and to ensure that the best solution to the challenges are selected, independent of technology. A key challenge will be the integration of technologies across the supply chain – linking up the harvesting, storage and transportation of biomass to the production of bioenergy in an energy efficient way.
The deadline for applications is the 14th November, and we have had good interest so far. To find out more, take a look at our page on the DECC website.
Our briefing and networking event, supported by the Environmental Sustainability KTN, went really well. Participants came from across the supply chain and from organisations involved in wetland harvesting techniques to bioenergy production. A number of questions were raised and you can find a full Q&A from the event on the DECC website.
The scheme is supported by a consortium of Wetland Managers, with a single point of contact from the RSPB – site manager, Sally Mills. This consortium will support funded projects by providing advice on wetland conservation and management, and by supporting trials of technology demonstrators on specific UK wetland sites during the later phases of the project. The RSPB recently organised two open days hosted at UK wetland sites to help inform potential participants about the various challenges associated with wetland conservation and management, which Sally has blogged about too.