EU-funded BioenNW project to explore how waste from wood and straw to sludge could be used for biofuel, eliminating reliance on producing dedicated food crops as feedstock, reducing landfill waste

BRUSSELS , April 11, 2012 (press release) – Reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill sites in Europe is the aim of a new EU-funded bioenergy project that has just kicked off. Bringing together researchers from Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, the BioenNW ('Delivering Local Bioenergy to NW Europe') project will investigate how waste materials such as straw, wood, algae and sewage sludge could potentially be explored as sources of biofuel, thereby eliminating reliance on the production of dedicated food crops.

BioenNW is funded in part by over EUR 4 million under the European Regional Development Fund's (ERDF's) INTERREG IVB North-West Europe programme. This programme is investing EUR 355 million in the economic, environmental, social and territorial future of north-west Europe. The aim of the programme is to co-finance projects that maximise the diversity of north-west Europe's territorial assets by tackling common challenges through transnational cooperation.

As part of the project, Bioenergy Support Centres (BSCs) have been created in regions in all five participating countries: the West Midlands in the United Kingdom, Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Ile-de-France in France, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany and Wallonia in Belgium. The aim of these centres is to support companies, organisations and local authorities to deliver local bioenergy more efficiently and cost-effectively. Each BSC offers leading-edge bioenergy demonstration plants, scientific demonstration facilities, a bioenergy decision support tool to help organisations determine their best bioenergy solution, a comprehensive document library, and training and educational materials.

The project aims to promote the wider adoption of local bioenergy and help realise the potential that exists in north-west Europe for biomass to make a substantial contribution to increasing energy security, reducing carbon emissions and creating employment.

The project will promote the take-up of decentralised heat and power schemes at a small scale (less than 10 MW total energy) through the novel integration of anaerobic digestion (AD) and intermediate pyrolysis. These technologies enable the use of a wide range of frequently difficult-to-manage feedstocks in both rural and urban situations, which have not previously been piloted in a commercial location.

BioenNW takes an innovative approach by combining the use of anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis results in minimal waste generation, allowing diverse feedstocks to be employed. This reduces the project's vulnerability to variation in fuel supply and competition with other feedstock uses.
Combining two biomass conversion technologies which deliver significant operational, economic and environmental synergies can help to accelerate biomass energy uptake.

The European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) based at Aston University in Birmingham is the BioenNW lead partner. Launching the project on 28 March, Professor Andreas Hornung from the EBRI commented: 'The field of bioenergy is expanding rapidly with successful installations, innovative applications and investment opportunities appearing on a regular basis. BioenNW will help to make local bioenergy initiatives a reality by demonstrating that bioenergy is truly a green and sustainable energy solution for organisations and communities throughout north-west Europe.'

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