The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has awarded £1.34m in funding to three cleantech firms to encourage innovation in bioenergy development.
AB Systems, AMW IBERS and Natural Synergies were selected from an initial list of seven firms under the DECC’s £2m Wetlands Biomass to Bioenergy competition.
The three companies will now move ahead from the project design stage to the testing phase, while the organisations that will enter the third and final round for further testing of their designs are expected to be announced in spring 2014.
According to DECC, the funding will help the firms drive forward innovation in bioenergy production from wetland biomass, including harvesting and energy generation methods.
UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said the coalition government is dedicated to achieving innovation, sustainability and bioenergy.
"With this funding, the three British companies AB Systems, AMW IBERS and Natural Synergies will be able to test their unique solutions for harvesting wetland plants for clean green power," Barker added.
Natural Synergies, which will receive £576,779, said the funds will allow it to establish a demonstration plant utilising wetland-based biomass as feedstock for developing a sustainable distributed energy system.
AMW IBERS, which will receive £293,733, said its project will help deliver positive conservation benefit to wetland sites as part of the RSPB futurescapes project, in particular Insh Marshes.
The remaining £470,000 will be allocated to AB Systems, which will use alternate methods of harvesting the diverse feedstock from the various landscapes and then dry it in AgBags close to the original site.
AB Systems (UK) director David A.T. Wynne said: "The funding received from DECC will enable us to build on existing Agbag technologies through the purchase and development of specialist low ground pressure harvesters and of a mobile briquetting plant.
"It will provide us with the opportunity to undertake development trials and establish techniques for the conversion of a currently underutilised material produced from conservation management," Wynne added.
According to the government’s bioenergy strategy, published in October 2012, sustainably sourced bioenergy has the potential to contribute about 11% of UK’s total primary energy demand by 2020.
Image: UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker. Photo: Courtesy of Department of Energy and Climate Change.