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Surrey academics to examine environmental, economic and social implications of bioenergy

The Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) in the School of Engineering at the University of Surrey has won a £411k contract to conduct research into the development of the UK bioenergy sector. CES will investigate the environmental, economic and social implications of bioenergy as part of a consortium of 13 UK academic and industrial organisations contributing to “A Whole Systems Approach to Analysing Bioenergy Demand and Supply: Mobilising the Long-Term Potential of Bioenergy” (TSEC-BIOSYS).

Biomass is a renewable energy source derived from plants and waste materials, which can be used to generate electricity, heat and transport fuels. A very wide range of materials are suitable and such bioenergy resources have been identified as a key element in UK energy policies to develop a low carbon economy. The 22nd report of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution first identified the significant contribution of bioenergy towards achieving a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Using bioenergy resources effectively will be important in tackling environmental problems such as climate change.

As a whole TSEC-BIOSYS, which is part of the EPSRC- , NERC- and ESRC-funded £28 million “Towards a Sustainable Energy Economy” programme, will investigate: the potential role of bioenergy in satisfying UK demand for heat, power and transport energy; the potential contribution of bioenergy to UK Government energy and environmental objectives; and the economic, environmental, and social implications of the large-scale development of bioenergy in the UK.

The CES research team is led by Dr Lucia Elghali, and is leading one of the four research themes in the project concerned with the development of a framework to assess the sustainability of possible bioenergy schemes by examining their environmental, economic and social implications. The project will continue through to 2009.

Stuart Miller | alfa
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