£26 million government funding to boost biomass production in UK

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Biomass projects across the UK can bid for a share of £26 million as the government ramps up plans to boost the use of materials such as grasses, hemp and seaweed to help the UK reach net zero.

Biomass refers to sustainably derived plant material that could be used as fuel to produce energy for heating and powering homes and businesses.

The funding, available through Phase 2 of the government’s Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, will see projects previously supported in the first round of the scheme able to apply for further support to bring their projects to life.

25 projects located across the country, from start-ups and family-run businesses to research institutes and universities, have already received a share of £4 million under Phase 1 of the programme.

The supported projects included a range of biomass production ideas, such as producing algae using wastewater from breweries and dairy industries, farming seaweed off the North Yorkshire coast, and increasing the planting and harvesting capacity for willow.

Under Phase 2, the projects will be developed from the design stage into full demonstration projects, showcasing new methods to grow biomass materials, which can be used to produce low-carbon energy.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands commented on the announcement: “Developing greener fuels like biomass is key to helping the UK slash carbon emissions and drive down costs for consumers.

“This £26 million government investment will support innovators across the UK, boosting jobs and investment, and help ensure we have the homegrown supply we need to support our plans to build back greener and tackle climate change.”

The chosen projects will drive biomass productivity through the breeding, planting, cultivating and harvesting of organic matter, from water-based materials such as algae to whole trees through sustainable forestry operations.

Each project will be able to bid for up to £4 million in funding or up to £5 million for bids from the multi-site demonstrator projects that will showcase new biomass feedstock production projects in multiple locations across the country.

A full list of successful Phase 1 projects and more information about Phase 2 is available on the UK Government website.