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DECC: UK leads EU scheme to drive bioenergy innovation



The UK has pledged up to £10million (€12.5M) to a scheme to develop innovative bioenergy projects, in partnership with seven other EU countries. The cash will help stimulate millions of pounds of further private investment in the technology.

Bioenergy is one of the most versatile forms of low carbon and renewable generation. It can be used to produce heat, electricity or transport fuel and can provide a continuous and constant flow of energy. Development of the bioenergy supply chain will also support growth and jobs in the UK economy and abroad.

The ERA-NET Plus BESTF scheme, worth around €47million in public money, will stimulate up to €100m of bioenergy innovation projects in the UK, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland and Portugal.

Energy Minister John Hayes said:

“Bioenergy has an important role to play in our energy mix, helping cut carbon as well as support jobs and spur on economic growth on a national and international scale.

“Britain has been the global engine room of innovation for centuries. I want to see that rich tradition continue in the energy sector. This scheme will help businesses develop a range of different innovative projects by combining public and private sector investment to make the most of this exciting technology.”

DECC, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Technology Strategy Board will all play a vital role for the UK in this scheme. DECC will put up to £6million (€7.4M) into the scheme over the next 2-3 years, with the Technology Strategy Board and BBSRC together contributing up to a further £4M (€5.1M). DECC will co-ordinate the initiative with the Technology Strategy Board providing support.

Organisations will be invited to put forward proposals for innovative projects in early 2013, with grants expected to be made in early 2014.

Notes for Editors

  1. For more information about the scheme, visit the pages on the DECC website.
  2. ERA-NET Plus is part of the ERA-NET scheme, which is one of the tools of the Seventh Framework Programme to support the coordination of non-Community research programmes. ERA-NET Plus actions comprise the launching, managing and financing of a joint call between several national programmes. The Community can subsequently agree on a "topping up" of the call result. The BESTF consortium is made up of the UK, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Spain (Navarra), Denmark, Switzerland, and Portugal.
  3. Full guidance on scheme criteria will be published alongside the scheme launch. Proposals will need to be collaborative with participation of at least 2 of the participating member states, with one participant not contributing more than 70% of the activity. All proposals must also demonstrate a route to commercialisation and must have financial support of at least 51% of the total project costs from the commercial sector.
  4. The project aligns with DECC’s bioenergy strategy and its draft Technology Innovation Needs Assessment (TINA).
  5. The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit [External link] .
  6. BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

    Funded by the UK Government, and with an annual budget of around £500M (2012-2013), we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.