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A £4.8m government-funded project aims to increase the amount of biomass crops grown by UK farmers Government scheme to fuel biomass production

A £4.8m government-funded project aims to increase the amount of biomass crops grown by UK farmers.

Funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the new scheme will be launched on 7 February at Low Carbon Agriculture Show at the National Agricultural Exhibition Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

Biomass Connect will showcase best-practice and innovations in biomass feedstock production at sites across the UK and through a biomass Information hub, said project leader Jeanette Whitaker, who is also a scientist at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH).

Sustainable biomass

The project is about supporting land managers to plant more sustainable biomass crops, said Dr Whitaker. “Our project will act as a focal point for the biomass industry, supporting the expansion of sustainable biomass production in the UK.

“The Climate Change Committee indicates that expansion of biomass feedstock cultivation from 10,000 ha to 730,000 ha by 2050 is required to deliver net zero for the UK. This will require significant changes in agricultural land use over the coming decades.”

Launching the initiative at the Low Carbon Agriculture event was a good opportunity to raise the project’s profile – and discuss the challenges for the biomass sector at an event attended by individuals and organisations focused on decarbonising agriculture.

Producing sustainable biomass is seen as crucial to meeting the UK’s net zero. The project launch at Low Carbon Agriculture will include a dedicated biomass exhibition so farmers can speak directly with industry suppliers.

The two-day event will include a conference session examining the role biomass has to play in the UK’s energy security and net zero plans. This will be chaired by Patricia Thornley, director of the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute.

Held in partnership with the NFU and the Country Land and Business Association, Low Carbon Agriculture show will also feature workshops, an exhibition, test drives of low emission vehicles and machinery and demonstrations of the latest agri-technology.

For project details, visit www.biomassconnect.org.