Aston University Bioenergy Research Group in 10.84m euro research project

Tony Bridgwater

Aston University Bioenergy Research Group (BERG) is involved in a €10.84m project to develop a European wide research infrastructure for producing biofuels.

BERG has been awarded €510,000 of research funds, as part of the €10.84m BRISK research project from the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

The four-year initiative aims to develop a European research infrastructure capable of delivering marketable biofuel products. This includes production of biofuels by thermochemical processes, including gasification, combustion, pyrolysis and hydrothermal processing.  Its main activity is to fund researchers from any European country to carry out research at any of the 26 project partners located outside of their home country to utilise the thermochemical biomass conversion installations.

The project is coordinated by KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, and includes partners from Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK.

Professor TonyBridgwater who is leading the project at Aston University, said: “Enhancing biomass utilisation without risking its sustainability is a European energy priority to curb greenhouse gas emissions. We need more efficient and cost effective production of biofuels and related products to ensure biorefineries can be viable in the future. Improving and opening up the research infrastructure across Europe will be key to achieving this.”

Aston University’s work on the BRISK project is on the back of its involvement in the €3.73million (£3.11million) DIBANET (Development of Integrated Biomass Approaches Network) research project, funded by the European Commission, to develop a renewable diesel miscible biofuel that can reduce reliance on fossil diesel in Europe and South America.

The BERG team, part of Aston’s European Bioenergy Research Institute, is also involved in a £1.4m project funded in part by the Research Council of Norway to investigate producing biofuel derived from spruce and pine trees by 2020 following the development of new bio-oil refining technologies. The researchers are developing new, integrated bio-oil technology to transform biomass more efficiently into biofuels through fast pyrolysis – the process of heating materials in the absence of oxygen. This will include turning biomass material such as tree bark and waste wood into usable oil for heating and transportation needs.