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£292,000 boost for bioenergy entrepreneurs

Seven British entrepreneurs have been awarded a share of £292,000 to spur on innovation in bioenergy, Energy and Climate Change minister Greg Barker announced today.

This investment is part of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC’s) £2 million three phase wetlands biomass to bioenergy competition launched in October last year.

As set out in the Government’s 2012 bioenergy strategy, sustainably sourced bioenergy could contribute around 11 per cent to the UK’s total primary energy demand by 2020 but more investment is needed to drive further innovation in this sector.

Energy and Climate Change minister Greg Barker said: “Bioenergy has an important part to play in our energy mix, increasing the amount of power we get from clean green sources. It can help cut carbon and enable us to meet our renewables targets. But more innovation is needed in this sector, and that’s what our wetlands biomass to bioenergy scheme is designed to encourage.

“It’s great to see that seven organisations across Great Britain have come forward with exciting and innovative ideas to drive this forward, and I wish them every success with the development of their plans.”

DECC’s biomass to bioenergy scheme is aimed specifically at encouraging innovation in bioenergy production from wetland biomass, including harvesting and energy generation methods, and using plants already grown which would otherwise go to waste once harvested.

Investment announced today will fund the first phase of this scheme and will help the winning organisations get pre-commercial design ideas off the drawing board and into more formalised project plans.

The designs were judged by a panel of experts on a range of criteria including value for money, consideration of conservation issues and the commercial potential of the plans put forward.

The seven successful applicants will receive help and guidance from a group of wetland management experts in the Somerset Levels and Moors, and the Broads, Fens and Suffolk coast area to get the most out of their designs. At the end of this first phase the organisations involved will be required to produce a report on their ideas to be assessed by a panel of experts.

The panel will then decide which organisations it wishes to put through to the second phase of the competition, to bid for a share of the remaining £1.7m to trial project ideas in wetland conditions. Organisations through to phase 2 of this competition will be announced in Spring 2013.

The panel will decide which organisations to put through to the third and final phase, for funding for further testing of designs, in Spring 2014.

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