Aston University Bioenergy Research Group awarded £424,000 research funding

Tony Bridgwater

2 August 2012

Aston University Bioenergy Research Group (BERG) has been awarded £424,000 of research funds, as part of the new SUPERGEN Bioenergy hub.

This research consortium will bring together industry and academia, and is funded by a £3.5m grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of the RCUK Energy Programme. It will investigate the efficiency and whole-life impact of a variety of biofuel processes and accelerate the deployment of sustainable bioenergy.

Professor Tony Bridgwater of Aston University will be leading two of the ten research projects as follows:

Upgrading of bio-oil 

  • Turning biomass into transport fuels is a significant research challenge as substantial processing and upgrading are required to meet biofuel specifications. One way of stepping towards that objective is to produce bio-oil by fast pyrolysis and upgrade that only to the minimum extent required to allow it to be mixed with mineral oil in a conventional refinery. New approaches to this will be evaluated experimentally to establish the feasibility and potential greenhouse gas reductions.

Techno-economic assessment of biofuels by pyrolysis 

  • There are many different pathways from woody biomass to biofuels, some of which are only just emerging and it makes sense to focus research effort on the more efficient and lowest cost processes, as well as those most likely to deliver significant and cost effective greenhouse gas reductions. Whole systems analysis of novel biofuel technologies will be carried out to screen for the most promising technology options.

The hub starts work in August for a five-year period and will be directed by Dr Patricia Thornley at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester.

The BERG team, part of Aston’s European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) has also recently won funding for promotional and dissemination activities for: