Bioenergy & Sustainability

By 2050 the world will be home to 9 billion people. The question arises as to how will we provide sufficient energy, water and food for this growing population? The Research Groups at Aston are some of the strongest in Europe and are helping to address such questions.

Our research profile in the area of bio-energy is award winning. Bio-energy can provide fuels that are very similar to familiar fuels like oil, coal or gas. These fuels are easy to store, unlike many other forms of renewable energy. However at the moment, most methods for producing bioenergy are inefficient and wasteful. This means that a lot of land is used to grow the biomass required. To overcome this problem, Aston is researching thermal biomass conversion for energy, fuel and chemicals applications through the Bioenergy Research Group (BERG).

Water is also an important research area at Aston. Such is the increase in demand for water that in many places the sea is the only source left. But the salt has to be removed from seawater prior to drinking, and this process of desalination is currently expensive. The problems of water and energy are linked in many ways. For example, desalination requires energy. And to grow crops for bioenergy requires water. Even solar energy installations may require a certain amount of water. Solar energy and desalination are among the topics investigated by our Sustainable Environment Research Group.

Aston 100 - Mini power plant



Professor Anthony Bridgwater

Leader of the Bioenergy Research Group

Tony and his team of researchers are developing innovative processes and products whereby fast growing wood energy crops, agricultural wastes and other biogenic materials can be converted into liquids, gases and solids for production of electricity, heat, transport fuels and chemicals.