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Small businesses receive funding to generate bioenergy from wetlands

Three British companies have been awarded a share of over £1.3m to spur on innovation in turning reeds and rushes from wetlands into bioenergy, energy and climate change minister Greg Barker has announced.

Contracts have been awarded to AMW IBERS, Natural Synergies and AB Systems, as part of a Department of Energy and Climate Change competition to help entrepreneurs demonstrate new ways of turning plant-based material derived from harvesting wetlands into renewable heat and electricity.

Sustainably sourced bioenergy has an important part to play in the UK’s future energy mix, with the potential to contribute around 11% of the UK’s energy demand by 2020.

The winning companies will use the funding to test their project designs in three wetland areas in the UK, including Somerset, Suffolk and Inverness.

Mr Barker said: “The ability to turn plant material – that would otherwise have been burned or left to decompose – into a sustainable energy source is an important part of the move towards a low carbon economy.

“I wish the winning organisations every success with their projects. These valuable initiatives will help to bring down the costs of this clean, green technology.”

AMW IBERS director Jonathan Walker said: I am really excited to be able to trial the innovative technology in Scotland, in particular Speyside with DECC funding. The project will help deliver positive conservation benefits to wetland sites, in particular Insh Marshes.

AB Systems director David Wynne said: “The funding received from DECC will enable us to build on existing 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 under-utilised material produced from conservation management.”

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