Aston to shape the future of bioenergy projects

Aston Business School’s partnership with an innovative renewable energy developer is shaping the future of bioenergy project deployment. Enco Energy Ltd. is collaborating with Aston University and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to create a complete risk management tool for bioenergy project development. This pioneering research is helping to ensure their continued success and the further deployment of biomass renewable energy schemes in the UK.

Enco Energy Ltd. is a developer and owner of small-scale biomass combined heat and power (bCHP) schemes in the UK. Enco, based in Norfolk, formed in 2007 to exploit the extensive opportunities in bCHP generation. The company’s unique business model and extensive experience in the industry has given them a strong foothold in this rapidly growing sector.

The risk management model, which is being developed by Aston PhD student Daniel Wright, uniquely utilises a fuzzy logic expert system to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of analysing and managing the risk inherent in potential bioenergy projects. Having a detailed understanding of a potential project’s viability and risk exposure, from the point of conception to the end of its life, greatly reduces predevelopment time and costs. The model is also tailored specifically to bCHP schemes and incorporates project stakeholder expertise to analyse potential technological, economic, social, and environmental risks. This approach fosters the best possible opportunity of success for the developer. 

The project draws on expertise from both Drs. Prasanta Dey of Aston Business School and John Brammer of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Dr Prasanta Dey, principle investigator of the project says “the multiple criteria-based decision support system will identify risk events, analyse their effect and help making decisions in every stage of project with the involvement of concerned stakeholders. This would be a completely new application of fuzzy multi criteria decision-making tools in the bioenergy industry”.

Enco Energy Ltd. has been instrumental in developing the risk management model and, although the model is currently in the design stage, the benefits are already becoming apparent. Enco’s Chief Operations Officer, Phil Hunt says “the research and work in progress will give Enco a strong competitive advantage in the field of biomass energy system deployment”. 

Aston Business School’s partnership with Enco emphasises the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge sharing to excel performance and leadership in both academia and industry. It is hoped that this pioneering research project is the first of many with Enco and the vitally important bioenergy sector.