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Wetlands projects win funding

Bioenergy wetlands projects got a funding boost today, as the government announced winners of cash aimed at growing innovation in the sector.

Seven British organisations have been awarded a share of £292,000 in phase one of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) wetlands biomass to bioenergy competition.

The money will help the winning organisations get pre-commercial design ideas off the drawing board and into more formalised project plans.

Winners include:

  • AB Systems        £12,180
  • Adapt    £36,560
  • EcoCZERO            £50,000
  • AMW-IBERS       £48,514
  • Carbon Compost              £46,812
  • Cranfield University        £49,400
  • Natural Synergies            £48,060

Projects included schemes for harvesting machinery for fens rush and reed beds, a system for drying bio-energy feedstocks close to the site of harvest, and new methods for using harvested wetland materials to generate energy. The designs were judged by a panel of experts  on criteria including value for money, consideration of conservation issues and commercial potential.

The winners will get guidance from 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.

The organisations will be required to produce a report on their ideas to be assessed by a panel of experts for entry into phase two this spring, to bid for a share of the remaining £1.7 million to trial project ideas in wetland conditions.   

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.

According to the government’s 2012 bioenergy strategy, sustainably sourced bioenergy could contribute around 11% to the UK’s total primary energy demand by 2020 but more investment is needed to drive further innovation in this sector.

Announcing the awards, 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.”

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