New research reports published by UK-based Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) have revealed that bioenergy has the potential to help the country meet future energy demands and mitigate climate change.
It is suggested bioenergy could also help the country create significant green growth opportunities without restricting food production.
The research found that bioenergy could meet around 10% of future energy requirements in the UK and could help reduce 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually by 2050, if used in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The projection could eliminate the need for more expensive interventions in sectors such as aviation, transport, and shipping, said the ETI report.
ETI’s research also noted that by planting nearly 1.4 million hectares of second generation, non-food bioenergy crops by 2050, the UK could achieve a cost-effective, low-carbon energy system, as well as create new farming and forestry jobs.
As part of the research, ETI has released more than 100 documents featuring data sets and project reports from its bioenergy programme.
ETI programme manager Geraint Evans said: “Biomass is already one of the largest and most versatile sources of renewable energy in the UK.
“To keep the UK on the trajectory for scaling up domestic biomass production into the 2050s, there should be a steady increase in the planting of second generation bioenergy crops on marginal arable land or appropriate grassland in the UK by about 30,000ha per year.
“Steadily increasing the planting of bioenergy crops in the UK would allow the sector to ‘learn by doing’ and develop best practices. This approach will also help the sector monitor and manage impacts on other markets and the wider environment more effectively.”
To achieve the energy demand projected in the ETI study, the UK is also required to take both long-term and immediate measures to advance the biomass sector post-Brexit, noted the study.