Supergen Bioenergy Hub Leader

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Eng


Bioenergy is energy from plants, trees and other material that has recently sequestered carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When the renewable biomass is used to produce energy it returns to the atmosphere carbon dioxide that has relatively recently been sequestered and so there is no net, long-term increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration. The SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub is a network of academic, industrial and policy stakeholders who contribute to research into sustainable bioenergy systems addressing the technical and engineering barriers to deployment while maximizing the environmental benefits of sustainable bioenergy. This project will investigate the key research challenges that need to be addressed to develop sustainable bioenergy systems in the UK. It will collate the views and priorities of academic, industrial and policy stakeholders to integrate perspectives and build links and understanding between key stakeholders.
The outcomes of the project will be an integrated, multi-disciplinary proposal for the future of UK bioenergy research in the UK and development of a UK bioenergy community network that values different disciplinary and stakeholder perspectives and combines these to focus on sustainable development.

Planned Impact

My aim as SUPERGEN leader is to build an integrated, inter-disciplinary UK bioenergy community. This will have impact for academics, industrialists, policy stakeholders and wider civil society as follows:

For the past 5 years I have led the Supergen bioenergy hub to integrate research on different stages of the bioenergy supply chain and embed a strong focus on systems level analysis to inform key uncertainties around ecosystem impacts and engineering optimisation of bioenergy systems. This has produced dividends via recognition of UK research excellence in this area at international conferences and in high impact journal papers. This project will encompass a much broader interdisciplinary base than previous and so will allow academics to grow their professional networks to undertake more holistic appraisals of bioenergy systems. Crucially cross-comparison and integration of biological, bio-chemical and thermo-chemical technologies will be facilitated by closer integration of the BBSRC and EPSRC communities. This will result in a broadening of perspectives and cross-fertilisation of ideas supporting practical system and novel technology development.

Industrialists will benefit in the short term from being able to connect to sources of academic expertise in areas where technological solutions are still emerging and would benefit from support from academics with underpinning knowledge. They will also obtain an accessible portal to relevant UK research and have the opportunity to steer longer term research in directions that they think are likely to be commercially viable and deliver real sustainability benefits.

Policy stakeholders
Bioenergy policy has underwent many changes in recent years partly to keep up with the emerging knowledge base on system impacts. In this project policy stakeholders will benefit from being able to steer research to address gaps they perceive in knowledge that is impeding sustainable policy development. They will also gain faster access to emerging results on impacts of bioenergy systems to inform policy review and development.

Civil society
Climate change poses a serious threat to the well-being of our existing civil society and associated structures. This project will form part of a programme focused on accelerating the deployment of low carbon energy technologies and by focusing on minimizing the greenhouse gases of bioenergy systems will contribute to broader societal benefits.
Description EUBCE 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact • Hub: The hub stand distributed over 300 papers to interested parties at the 23rd European Biomass Conference and Exhibition with follow up conversations on supply chain sustainability and bio-ccs that have facilitated development of new proposals, forthcoming events and subsequent attendance of European academics and consultants at hub meetings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2017