biomass

UK Government Provides £3.3 Million in Funding to Miscanthus Upscaling Project

0
A project to facilitate more planting of the perennial bioenergy crop, Miscanthus, has been awarded over £3.3 million in funding through the second phase of the government’s Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Program, to contribute to 2050 net zero targets.
UK Government Provides £3.3 Million in Funding to Miscanthus Upscaling Project
Courtesy of Terravesta

Miscanthus specialist, Terravesta, has been successful in its bid to secure Phase 2 funding for its OMENZ project which stands for ‘Optimizing Miscanthus Establishment through improved mechanization and data capture to meet Net Zero targets’.

OMENZ will deliver improvements on the entire Miscanthus establishment process, including approaches to producing planting material, field preparation, innovative agri-tech, new planting techniques, and cutting-edge technologies to monitor establishment in the field.

Terravesta’s science and technology director, Dr. Michael Squance, says that Miscanthus is important for our net zero targets. “The Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget report states that to reach net zero, 700,000 hectares of bioenergy crops need to be planted by 2050 – that’s 30,000 hectares a year starting in 2030. 

“The first dedicated, peer-reviewed study into Miscanthus life cycles shows that the above ground biomass grows annually and recycles all the carbon that’s been produced through planting, harvesting, and burning the crop for renewable electricity, and at the same time, the underground rhizome and decaying leaf litter fixes and stores net 0.64 tonnes of carbon (2.35 tonnes CO2e) per hectare, each year as it grows,” says Squance.

“The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is funding projects like ours through NZIP, the ‘Net Zero Innovation Portfolio’ and it’s our aim to increase the scale and quality of Miscanthus establishment in the UK,” he added.

“In Phase 1 of the project, we analysed field preparation, machinery, technology, and planting techniques to identify areas that can deliver gains, efficiency, and cost reduction. We started Phase 2 of the project in mid-2022 and will trial and develop innovative techniques to improve Miscanthus planting and establishment.” 

The Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Program was launched in 2021 by BEIS to enable organizations, including start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises, to develop research projects that will deliver commercially viable innovations in biomass production. Phase 2 will run until March 2025 to demonstrate the innovative new methods tested.

Dr. Jason Kam, Terravesta’s head of R&D, says: “There are four areas of focus for OMENZ, the first is planting material production preparation, which will improve on the quality of the rhizomes when they come out of the nursery, look at Miscanthus seed development, and test biological treatments and crop nutrition to help the plants to grow better.

“The second focus area is site preparation, where we will look at retaining moisture, reducing tillage, and improving soil health.” 

“Streamlining planting processes is an exciting part of the project, where agri-tech will be used to plant more crops in a shorter space of time.

“And lastly, establishment monitoring will test drone agronomy, remote sensing and data capture, to improve crop performance,” adds Kam.

Terravesta was among 12 other projects to be awarded the funding in Phase 2, and partners in OMENZ include CHAP, Cranfield University, Energene Seeds Ltd, Liverpool John Moores University, TJSS Ltd, University of Lincoln, Ystumtec Ltd.

Long-term partner of Terravesta, Aberystwyth University, has also been successful in getting funding for its breeding program.

Add a comment
¡Suscríbete!
Baterías con premio en la gran feria europea del almacenamiento de energía
El jurado de la feria ees (la gran feria europea de las baterías y los sistemas acumuladores de energía) ya ha seleccionado los productos y soluciones innovadoras que aspiran, como finalistas, al gran premio ees 2021. Independientemente de cuál o cuáles sean las candidaturas ganadoras, la sola inclusión en este exquisito grupo VIP constituye todo un éxito para las empresas. A continuación, los diez finalistas 2021 de los ees Award (ees es una de las cuatro ferias que integran el gran evento anual europeo del sector de la energía, The smarter E).