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Bioenergy: generating new replacement fuels for a greener, sustainable future


Bioenergy is a renewable form of energy generated from materials derived from biological sources. Bioenergy is increasingly being recognised as having an important role in helping the UK to maintain its energy security in the context of diminishing worldwide stocks of fossil fuels. Moreover, increasing the deployment of bioenergy within the UK will also play an important part in helping the UK to achieve its ambitious targets for reductions in green-house gas emissions, as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008. Replacement liquid transportation fuels will have a particularly important role to play in achieving these aims.

BBSRC's interests are focussed on supporting research projects that aim to develop liquid transportation fuels, biogases and biologically generated electricity derived from a wide range of different biological feedstocks including: algae, crop wastes, food and municipal waste, animal wastes and perennial biomass.


BBSRC wishes to encourage research applications that:

  • Increase the UK's capacity to undertake: basic, strategic and applied research into the development and scale-up of sustainable replacement fuels with emphasis on liquid transport fuels using both synthetic and systems biology approaches
  • Research should focus on growth and composition of the biological feedstock, through to metabolism and harvesting of fuel and its associated added value co-products
  • Encourage collaboration of academia with industry and the translation of research into biofuels and associated added-value co-products
  • Develop and / or improve enabling technologies relevant to the biorefinery concept. This approach, in which all components of the feedstock are used to make multiple products (chemicals, heat and fuel), improves the economic feasibility and resource efficiency/ sustainability of biofuel production.
  • Complements research being undertaken by the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (see external links), e.g. by using alternative feedstocks, such as algae or municipal waste, or adopting synthetic biology approaches to produce alternative biofuels.

In all cases research applications must be targeted towards sustainable, advanced biofuels ("second-generation" and beyond). BBSRC does not wish to support research in the area of biomass combustion or combustion technologies.

Research projects that use multidisciplinary approaches to integrate biology with other disciplines including chemistry, engineering and mathematics are particularly encouraged.