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£26m funding to support UK biomass projects

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Innovative biomass projects across the UK can now bid for a share of £26 million (€30.4 million) in government funding.

Biomass, which is backed by the independent Climate Change Committee, will be an important part of the UK’s renewable energy mix, helping it to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

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

The funding, available through Phase 2 of the government’s Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, will see projects previously supported under Phase 1 with government funding to design new ways of boosting biomass production in the first round, able to apply for further support.

Each project will be able to bid for up to £4 million (€4.6 million) in funding or up to £5 million (€5.8 million) for bids from the multi-site demonstrator projects that will showcase new biomass feedstock production projects in multiple locations across the UK.

“Developing greener fuels like biomass is key to helping the UK slash carbon emissions and drive down costs for customers,” said Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands.

“This £26 million (€30.4 million) government investment will support innovators across the UK, boosting jobs and investment, and help ensure we have the home-grown supply we need to support our plans to build back greener and tackle climate change.”

A total of 25 projects across the UK, from start-ups and family-run businesses, to research institutes and universities, have already received a share of £4 million under the scheme. Under the next phase, the projects will be developed from the design stage into full demonstration projects.

White Horse Energy was one recipient of the Phase 1 funding. The company’s core aim is to apply mobile pelletiser technology to energy crops, opening up a ‘significant’ new source of pellets for the UK market.

In Wales, Aberystwyth University received funding for its ‘Micanspeed’ project, which seeks ways to improve the breeding of high-yielding, resilient Miscanthus or elephant grass – grass varieties well-suited to biomass use in the UK.