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Expert workshop – Innovations in sustainable bioenergy feedstocks

The workshop was organised by Ricardo and run with BEIS to explore how innovations could increase; supply, profitability, reduce risk, and allow crops to be grown in a wider range of conditions and improve harvesting or planting techniques for bioenergy.

The workshop tended to focus on GHG accounting current and future, R&D, technology advances in agriculture and bioenergy, which could all support the development of the miscanthus, SRC and long and short rotation forestry.

However, renewable energy industry wide topics such as;

  • Carbon pricing
  • Nitrogen budgeting and neutrality, and
  • Diversification of farming were explored.

As the renewable energy industry develops and matures it is positive to see that other aspects of bioenergy are in agreement with AD that there is a need for pricing carbon. Pricing carbon externalities will provide additional revenue, if it is directed to producers of the feedstock and not just power plants, which will allow the benefits of these bioenergy sources to be fully accounted for.

Finally, my AD side could not help but ask about the use of miscanthus in anaerobic digestion. After speaking to university researchers and industry experts on the matter it sounds like research is most definitely being carried out and positive noise is coming out of Germany regarding the trailing of a miscanthus feedstock. The trials are based around September or November, for higher dry matter, harvesting. Currently this adversely effects the future yields. Does this offer a potential increase in late autumn digestate demand and increased flexibility in feedstock for anaerobic digestion?

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