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Aston University professor awarded Europe’s top bioenergy prize

8 May 2007 – for immediate release

Professor Tony Bridgwater of Aston University received the Johannes Linneborn Prize for his outstanding contribution to developing energy from biomass at the world’s largest bioenergy conference today in Berlin.

Ralph Overend, of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory USA, gave the Laudatio on Professor Bridgwater’s achievements in the field of thermal-chemical conversion of biomass.

Professor Bridgwater is head of the Bioenergy Research Group at Aston University, where he began research into bioenergy over 25 years ago.

He is the leading international expert on fast pyrolysis – a process that heats up biomass to relatively high temperatures for a few seconds in the absence of oxygen, and converts it into a liquid. Fast pyrolysis is a promising technology because the liquid bio-oil is much easier to store and transport than solid biomass, such as bales of straw or grass, and can be used as a fuel itself or converted to electricity, transport fuels or chemicals.

Professor Bridgwater is also a pioneer in fostering national and international collaboration in bioenergy research. Last month he succeeded in winning a proposal to continue the UK’s biggest bioenergy research consortium – SUPERGEN Bioenergy – for a further four years with �6.4 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. He is also involved in six other European projects in the bioenergy area; coordinates ThermalNet – the EU’s research network on thermal-chemical conversion of biomass; leads the International Energy Agency’s Pyrolysis Task; and has organised over ten international conferences on thermal-chemical biomass conversion.

‘I’m honoured to receive this prestigious award as part of a long line of distinguished researchers in biomass and bioenergy,’ said Professor Bridgwater.

‘Working in the bioenergy field is extremely fulfilling and demands a multidisciplinary approach. With interest in bioenergy continuing to soar, continued collaboration as scientists, technologists, industrialists, economists and environmentalists will help to fulfil bioenergy’s great potential to be Europe’s biggest renewable energy resource,’ he said.

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For further information contact Prof Tony Bridgwater, Bioenergy Research Group, Aston University Mobile: +44 (0) 7770 227829, email: a.v.bridgwater@aston.ac.uk

Crystal Luxmore, PR Officer, Bioenergy Research Group, Aston University, Mobile: +44 (0) 7968 752092, email: crystal_luxmore@hotmail.com

The Johannes Linneborn Prize was established in 1994 for outstanding contributions to the development of energy from biomass. Johannes Linneborn, who lived 1899-1991, was a pioneer in modern biomass utilisation. In his professional life of almost 70 years, his interest covered a wide range of activities from agriculture, energy and transport to health and nutrition. His philosophy was the necessity to integrate all human activities in the natural cycle of life. The Linneborn Prize is awarded every two years at the European Biomass and Bioenergy Conference and Exhibition series (www.biomass-conference.com), the biggest event of its kind, with over 1,500 delegates expected at this week’s conference in Berlin.

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