UK funds biomass feedstock, biobased hydrogen projects

By Erin Voegele | August 04, 2022

The U.K. government on Aug. 4 awarded £32 million to 12 projects that aim to increase U.K. production of sustainable biomass. An additional £5 million was awarded to 22 projects to support new technologies that generate hydrogen from biomass and waste.

The £32 million was awarded under Phase 2 of the U.K. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, which aims to find new ways to increase biomass production in the U.K. Phase 1 project awards were announced in August 2021.

The £5 was awarded under Phase 1 of the BEIS’s Hydrogen BECCS program, which aims to accelerate the commercialization of innovative clean energy technologies and processes. Phase 1 funding supports projects that will scope and develop feasible demonstration projects. Selected prototype demonstration projects will be supported by future Phase 2 awards.

Projects selected for Phase 2 funding under the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme include:

Project BIOFORCE (BIOmass FORestry CrEation): Creating geospatial data systems to upscale national forestry-based biomass production: Led by Verna Earth Solutions Ltd., the project aims to create and demonstrate new, upgraded versions of Forest Research’s industry standard ecological site classification (ESC) tool, and Verna’s successful ForestFounder system.

Transforming U.K. offshore marine algae biomass production: Led by SeaGrown Ltd., the project aims to enable a transformational change from cottage industry to a major source of sustainable bulk biomass from the ocean.

EnviroCrops - Perennial energy crops decision support system (PEC-DSS): Led by Agri Food and Biosciences Institute, the project aims to develop a web app that enables farmers, land managers and consultants to make informed decisions about planting biomass crops.

Miscanspeed - accelerating Miscanthus breeding using genomic selection: Led by Aberystwyth University, the project aims to demonstrate the application of genomic selection in accelerating the breeding of high-yielding, resilient miscanthus varieties for the U.K.

Enhanced multiplication propagation and establishment technologies combined with new varietal introductions for vegetatively propagated energy crops: Led by New Energy Farms EU Ltd., the project aims to increase the number of energy grass varieties that are available and increase yield. The project also aims to achieve agronomic improvements.

Optimizing miscanthus establishment through improved mechanization and data capture to meet net zero targets (OMENZ): Led by Terravesta Farms Ltd., the project aims to provide tools to meet the rapid scale-up of miscanthus planting to achieve a sustainable biomass supply.

Demonstration of on-­farm pelletization technology: Developing and constructing a robust mobile pelletizer enabling farms to process a range of feedstocks, enabling domestic biomass pellets to displace imported pellets in the U.K. energy supply mix: Led by White Horse Energy Ltd., the project aims to develop a transportable, mobile pelletization technology able to operate behind the farm gate in processing a range of energy crops and innovative agricultural residues year-round.

Teesdale moorland biomass project: Led by Teesdale Environmental Consultancy Ltd., the project aims to utilize the existing heather crop and harvest commercially viable biomass products from naturally generated moorland crops that are currently burned in situ as part of annual land management practices.

Soilless cultivation for rapid biomass feedstock production: Led by the University of Surrey, the project uses novel aeroponic technology to rapidly cultivate short rotation coppice (SRC) willow cutting that can be planted into the field or bioenergy.

Net zero willow: Led by Rickerby Estates Ltd., the project aims to overcome shortcomings of the mechanical equipment currently used by the SRC willow biomass industry.

Accelerating willow breeding and deployment: Led by Rothamsted Research, the project aims to accelerate the breeding of SRC willow and generate information to guide the intelligent deployment of current varieties.

BioFIND: Biomass innovation and information platform: The project aims to create a demonstration and knowledge sharing platform to showcase best practice and innovations in land-based biomass feedstock production.


The 22 projects that will share in £5 million awarded under Phase 1 of the Hydrogen BECCS program include:

Producing hydrogen fuel feedstock from compost oversize: Led by Biowise Ltd., the project aims to process waste compost to produce a biogenic feedstock source for hydrogen gasifiers.

Bluegen - utilization of biorefinery residues for blue hydrogen production: Led by the University of Hull, the project aims to produce hydrogen via the gasification of biorefinery waste.

Development of biomass gasification tar reformation and ash removal: Led by Advanced Biofuel Solutions Ltd., the project will explore novel solutions to deal with ash and tar contaminants produced during biomass gasification.

Micro-H2 hub utilizing biogenic feedstock for hydrogen and CO2 production: Led by Compat Syngas Solutions Ltd., the project will explore the technical, economic and commercial feasibility of using water, replacing amines, as a scrubbing material, for CO2 removal and capture in a form that can be transported and sold to end-users, using biogenic feedstock from syngas streams.

Bio-hydrogen produced by enhanced reforming (Bio-HyPER): Led by Cranfield University, the project aims to demonstrate a state-of-the-art hydrogen BECCS process.

RiPR (rising pressure reformer) using SCWG (super critical water gasification): Led by Helical energy Ltd., the project aims to demonstrate a state-of-the-art novel H2BECCS process.

Enhancement of KEW biomass gasification technology performances through optimization of the H2/CO2 separation process stage: Led by Kew Projects Ltd., the project aims to evaluate innovative processes that can reduce the capital and operational costs of the H2/CO2 separation stage of KEW’s pressurized advanced gasification technology (AGT) and improve the overall efficiency of the process.

North east waste wood hydrogen demonstrator (NEW2H2): Led by Northumbria University, the project aims to determine the techno-economic viability of a scalable, modular demonstration plant that generates biohydrogen out of waste wood gasification.

Novel plasma reforming technology for tars reduction in BECCS: Led by Queen Mary University of London, the project will explore the feasibility of a novel solution to remove contaminants from syngas by employing a novel self-powered plasma catalytic system for particles and tars removal and develop a costed plan for implementing this solution in an existing gasification plant.

H2 production via biomass gasification Integrated with innovative one-step gas shift reforming and separation (BIG-H2): Led by Translational Energy Research Centre - the University of Sheffield, the project aims to investigate the integration of biomass/bio-waste gasification with innovative gas cleaning/upgrading and novel membrane-based separation to produce high-purity hydrogen and CO2.

Hydrogen from cyanobacteria - a biological route to zero-carbon or carbon-negative hydrogen: Led by 17Cicada Ltd., the project proposes to use cyanobacteria for the biological production of hydrogen.

Eco dark fermentation: Led by Alps Ecoscience U.K. Ltd., the project seeks to produce hydrogen from wase using dark fermentation to deliver a sustainable, low-carbon energy supply.

Production of biohydrogen from waste biomass: Led by Catagen Ltd., the project aims to apply Catagen’s proprietary recirculating-gas reactor technology to develop a cost-effective method of producing low-carbon biohydrogen.

Pure pyrolysis refined: Led by Environmental Power International (U.K. R&D) Ltd., the project aims to demonstrate the production of green hydrogen and carbon sequestration with zero emissions using the company’s Pure Pyrolysis technology.

HAROW – hydrogen by aqueous-phase reforming of organic wastes: Led by ICMEA-UK Ltd., the project focuses on hydrogen production from organically contaminated wastewater.

Biohydrogen from dark and photo fermentation: Led by Phoebus Power Ltd., the project aims to design a biphasic dark and photo fermentations system using novel and proprietary microbes while capturing the CO2 generated.

Thermal catalytic conversion of syngas to carbon nanotubes: Led by The Cool Corp. Ltd., the project aims to convert syngas derived from RDF to biohydrogen and caron nanotubes.

The sustainable biogas, hydrogen, graphene LOOP: Led by United Utilities Water, the project aims to provide a completely sustainable feed source to produce hydrogen and graphene using the Levidian LOOP process.

Hydrogen from organic waste with an integrated biological-thermal-electrochemical process: Led by the University of Leeds, the project aims to produce biohydrogen for the U.K. transport sector in an environmentally sustainable and commercially viable manner using a multi-step process that uses readily available organic waste, a novel oxidation pretreatment process and dark fermentation.

BIOHYGAS: Led by the University of South Wales, the project focuses on a two-stage biohydrogen/biomethane AD system that can increase energy recovery from sewage by up to 37 percent when compared to existing processes.

Bio hydrogen demonstrator: Led by Wood Group U.K. Ltd., the project aims to assess the feasibility of deploying the company’s innovative biohydrogen production technology at an industrial demonstrator scale.

Additional information is available on the BEIS website