This research area covers the thermochemical conversion of biomass to energy vectors – for example, heat, electricity and liquid fuels.
This research area focuses on the thermochemical conversion of biomass to energy vectors – for example, heat, electricity and liquid fuels. It includes combustion, pyrolysis, gasification systems and the engineering integration of biomass conversion technologies into a sustainable system. It excludes the study of fluid dynamics and the study of bioelectrical engineering.
Research focusing on utilisation of biomass to solely produce chemicals is also excluded, while the production of chemicals as a by-product of biorefinery process for energy generation is acceptable.
Through outreach and critical mass investments in research and training, emphasis will be on prioritising and coordinating complementary research projects with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to support topics between the interfaces and accelerate research into real-world applications.
Our aim is for this portfolio to align with other UKRI partners and organisations, including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to provide a whole-systems approach to decarbonisation.
Academics and industrialists will be consulted to consider economic, social and environmental factors, as well as integration within the wider energy system. Social and environmental factors include cost, efficiency, health and resource management.
A review of available skills and knowledge, infrastructure and large investments in industry and academia will help ensure that resources are allocated strategically and efficiently. It is key to maintain the balance of critical mass investments and community-led research, while continuing to provide postdoctoral and early career support.
Recent reports have shown there is a requirement for sustainable bioenergy with carbon capture and storage to meet net zero emissions. Focus on thermochemical conversion of biomass and waste to energy vectors, including heat, electricity and liquid fuels (particularly drop-in fuels for transport), will be encouraged. Links between this research area, and the Carbon Capture and Storage research area should be fostered to ensure they can be integrated efficiently.
Researchers already collaborate strongly with countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. To maximise UK influence and impact, the community is expected to continue fostering such opportunities.
This research area is also of potential relevance to the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office’s Official Development Assistance funding streams.