MEP visits the European Bioenergy Research Institute

Anthea McIntyre MEP visits to EBRI
Left to right: James Waterson (HAUC), Anthea McIntyre MEP, Prof Andreas Hornung (EBRI), Prof Peter Mills (HAUC), Paul Moran (HAUC)

16 August 2012

Anthea McIntyre MEP recently visited the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) to see the innovative sustainable energy solutions being developed by the EBRI team and to find out more about the work the Institute is offering through its current European funded projects.

The meeting took place at Harper Adams University College in Shropshire which is where much of the bioenergy technology developed by EBRI researchers is currently being tested before it is moved to EBRI’s brand new facilities on the Aston University campus later this year.

Anthea was given a tour of the EBRI Pyroformer by Professor Andreas Hornung, Head of EBRI. The Pyroformer is an innovative technology capable of processing multiple waste feedstocks through intermediate pyrolysis to produce heat and power. Anthea was particularly interested to hear how the Pyroformer can be integrated with anaerobic digestion processes already in existence to increase the efficiency of the process by up to 25%. In fact, by coupling the EBRI Pyroformer with its AD plant, Harper Adams University College produces 100% of its heat and power requirements.   

Anthea also heard about EBRI’s two European bioenergy projects. A £16.5m European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project is providing a new ‘home’ and demonstrator facilities for EBRI on the Aston University campus. The new EBRI building will house engineering laboratories and test facilities to showcase and develop renewable low carbon technologies and include a biomass fuelled power plant. It will generate heat and power from biomass, such as algae, sewage sludge, wood and agricultural waste as sources of fuel. It will also generate biomass by-products including hydrogen power for low carbon vehicles or fuel cells and biochar for use as an agricultural fertiliser and a source for decentralised hydrogen production. The project will also see EBRI working with organisations and businesses within the West Midlands to form a bioenergy supply chain in the region. EBRI’s €8m INTERREG IVB funded project – BioenNW – sees the Institute working with 14 European partners to increase the rate of implementation of bioenergy provision within North West Europe by facilitating the development of local, small scale biomass energy schemes through the creation of a network of Bioenergy Support Centres.

Speaking after her visit, Anthea said: “I found my visit to tour both the European Bioenergy Research Institute Pyroformer and the Harper Adams Anaerobic Digestion Plant absolutely fascinating. The Pyroformer is particularly exciting. It is demonstrating enormous potential for using biomass to both produce energy and sequest carbon and offers organisations a truly green and sustainable source of power.

“I welcome and support the fact that EBRI is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to develop a new centre of excellence in bioenergy technologies – this is great news for both the West Midlands and the UK in general.”

Anthea has been a West Midlands MEP since December 2011 and was appointed as the Conservative Employment Spokesman in January 2012. She serves on both the Agriculture Committee and the Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament. She has previously held positions as a County Councillor, Parliamentary Candidate and Constituency Officer.

Watch a video showcasing the EBRI Pyroformer

Companies wishing to find out more about EBRI’s work can call 0121 204 3343 or email bioenergy@aston.ac.uk.

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Notes to Editors

The European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI)

The European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University has been established since 2007 and bioenergy research has been taking place at the University from as early as 1978. EBRI staff conduct world-class research into all aspects of bioenergy, ranging from fundamental research through development, to deployment of innovative technologies, in collaboration with industry. EBRI works with regional, national and international businesses and organisations to help them realise opportunities from this new high growth sector. www.aston.ac.uk/ebri