Supported by
DG Research

Our Research Strategy

Professor Tony Bridgwater of the Bio-Energy Research Group at Aston University

Overcoming the Barriers to Bioenergy

Bioenergy technology is advancing everyday, creating innovative solutions for a cleaner, more secure energy market in Europe.  Implementing bioenergy in Europe depends as much on effective technology as on non-technical factors like legislation, market strategies and public acceptance. 
Our research strategy aims to identify, analyse and overcome the main barriers to creating an efficient bioenergy industrial sector in Europe.  Our research covers all processes necessary for establishing a successful ?bioenergy chains? to produce heat, electricity and biofuels for the energy end-use market including:
  • planting and harvesting of biomass
  • solid fuels from agricultural, forestry and industrial biomass residues and organic waste components
  • combustion, gasification and synthesis, pyrolysis, anaerobic digestion and fermentation of biomass feedstock
  • production of liquid biofuels and hydrogen
  • heat and power plants
  • analyses of socio-economic, policy, market and environmental issues including climate change

Towards a Virtual Bioenergy R&D Centre for Europe

The key objective of our five year strategy is to build a Virtual Bioenergy R&D Centre that can spearhead the development of a technologically and economically efficient biomass and bioenergy industry in Europe.  The steps to achieving this are:
1. Mapping of NoE capabilities
2. Identifying and analysing main barriers to bioenergy development
3. Formulating R&D goals to overcome barriers
4. Undertaking joint research to find optimal solutions
5. Developing joint research into a Virtual Bioenergy R&D Centre for Europe

Mapping NoE Capabilities

In 2004 we mapped the R&D activities, facilities, expertise and plans of every partner organisation by research areas to identify gaps, overlaps and synergies within the NoE?s research.  The resulting Mapping Report found that our R&D activities are mostly complementary.  The extensive range of facilities and expertise of the partner organisations means that we can cover every aspect of bioenergy systems, from fundamental science through technology research and development to system analysis. 
The Mapping Report provides a foundation for our work.  The Report outlines our joint capabilities and expertise while areas of overlap and synergy provide a focus for our early integrated research.

Bridging Science and Industry to Overcome Barriers

Ultimately industry will drive bioenergy into the marketplace.  To help accelerate the pace of bioenergy development our research is based on business opportunities and industry needs.  In the first phase of our strategy we?ve divided our research into seven core areas that make up the entire bioenergy field for the broadest perspective possible.  Currently, each Research Area is analysing barriers to market implementation by carefully considering where bioenergy R&D can help industry to maximise business opportunities.  Workshops, meetings, literature reviews and case studies are some of the ways that Research Areas are identifying and analysing barriers in their field. The barriers are analysed under the categories of: economics, legislation, technology, biomass supply, sustainability, and society.  By summer 2005 individual research areas will synchronise their findings to identify and analyse the major barriers existing across the entire bioenergy field.

RTD Goals

Each Research Area is developing RTD goals to overcome the barriers identified.  Individual goals will be integrated to build a common research strategy. 

Jointly Executed Research

A program of Jointly Executed Research will begin near the end of 2005 based on our RTD goals.  Our broad-based strategy comes full circle as our integrated knowledge-base and barrier analysis will enable us to design focused, innovative and industry-driven jointly-executed research projects that can take bioenergy into the European market.

Excellence through Integration

The NoE?s eight partners are independent, diverse bioenergy research institutions from across Europe, with expertise in different areas of Bioenergy R&D.  Our chief aim is integration.  The NoE?s Integration Team will focus on finding the most effective methods to integrate the activities, facilities and resources of the eight partners into a Virtual Bioenergy R&D Centre.  By the end of our contracted funding, we will have substantially integrated our R&D to form a lasting consortium that can reach out to other research institutes, partner with industry leaders from across Europe, and advise decision makers to spearhead the development of a thriving bioenergy market in Europe.   


Search Site: