Bioenergy research project launched

A £27 million research plan has been launched to develop sustainable UK bioenergy and biofuels from woody biomass and crop wastes that do not compete for land with food production. The project has received £20 million over five years from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the rest from a consortium of 15 industrial partners.1

The BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Research Centre will be based at five existing research bodies - Rothamsted Research and the Universities of Nottingham, Cambridge, Dundee and York

The research is divided into several strands: developing varieties of fast-growing trees and grasses such as willow and miscanthus, and probing the structure of the plant cell wall materials lignin and cellulose and enzymes that break them down. Other themes will be optimising conversion of lignocellulosic feedstock such as barley straw to ethanol, and investigating bacteria capable of producing energy intensive butanol from lignocellulose.

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