Graphic novel explains bioenergy to kids and adults alike

The big questions around bioenergy and climate change are being tackled in an innovative way, with a new graphic novel from the Supergen Bioenergy Hub based at the University of Manchester.

Aimed at both a general audience and children, the graphic novel addresses big questions for the bioenergy sector, including: What is bioenergy? Does growing biofuel compete with growing food? And, does bioenergy really reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

A collaboration between artists and researchers, the guide aims to be handy and accessible.  The graphic novel is designed to be used by the bioenergy industry and policymakers to promote the benefits and address some of the controversies surrounding bioenergy.

The University of Sheffield is part of the Supergen Hub.

Karen Finney, from the Energy 2050 energy research institute at the University of Sheffield, said: “Many people are unaware of bioenergy but it is becoming a larger part of our energy mix in the UK.

“Bioenergy can come from farming by-products, crops, sewage and even algae, and could play an important part in our move away from fossil fuels and help in the fight against climate change.

"A graphic novel is such an innovative way to inform people on bioenergy – our research produces lots of academic journal papers, but a comic is much more approachable . .. and really cool!”

The graphic novel contains striking images of imagined alternative futures involving bioenergy, as well as providing explanations of the technology involved and how it could be put into practice.

Bioenergy: A Graphic Introduction will be launched on 21 March, ahead of the two-day International Bioenergy Conference 2017 at the University of Manchester (23-24 March). The conference will present the latest technologies and policy ideas to an international audience.

Based at the University of Sheffield, Energy 50 is one of the UK’s largest energy research institutes. Bringing together 120 academics and 250 PhD students, Energy 50 focuses on energy innovation and knowledge exchange.

This story was written by Daryl Worthington, deputy editor at Bioenergy Insight.

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