Forest Research, E.ON to lead ETI U.K. feedstock project

By Energy Technologies Institute | February 19, 2015

The Energy Technologies Institute has announced that Forest Research and E.ON will deliver the latest project in its bioenergy program, a study into the characterization of feedstocks.

The project will provide an understanding of U.K.-produced second generation biomass properties (derived from plants and generated through photosynthesis), how these vary and relate this variability to the origins of the samples tested. It will involve the sampling of several types of biomass from across the U.K. under various planting, growing, harvesting and storage conditions. The results will be analyzed to understand the scale of variation and what impacts different production and storage methods have on biomass properties.

Forest Research is one of the world’s leading centers of research into woodlands and forestry and an executive agency of the Forestry Commission conducting world-class scientific research and technical development relevant to forestry to support and inform the policies for sustainable forest management. E.ON U.K. is part of the E.ON group – one of the world’s largest investor-owned power and gas companies generating electricity and retailing power and gas.

Geraint Evans, program manager of bioenergy at the ETI, who is leading the project, said, “At the ETI we see bioenergy alongside carbon capture and storage as one of the biggest levers in any transition to a low carbon energy system. This project aims to build our knowledge base to increase our understanding of what is the best use of any sustainable feedstock produced in the U.K. at a system level.”

Helen McKay, head of center of sustainable forestry and climate change at Forest Research, adds, “This is an important area to understand. We have worked previously with the ETI on its ELUM project which has studied the impact of bioenergy crops on soil carbon levels and greenhouse gas emissions. The combined findings of our work on both projects will help the U.K. to gain a better understanding of biomass as a low carbon energy source and how it is best applied.”

Steve Croxton, senior technical consultant for bioenergy crops at E.ON Technologies (Ratcliffe) Ltd., commented, “Improving the understanding of sustainably grown domestic biomass could provide up to 10 percent of U.K. energy needs by 2050 and is therefore an exciting prospect. E.ON is committed to both working with and supporting this project, which will help to build an evidence base for the greater use of biomass in UK energy production.”

Watch Geraint Evans explaining the announcement here.