Upcoming Event: Bioenergy debate in #Manchester Mon 20th May #tyndall

Monday 20th May 2013
4pm to 6pm
University Place Lecture Theatre A (3.102)

The question for panellists is:
“The UK government should increase support for bioenergy.  Discuss …”

Bioenergy is set to play a major role in meeting the UK’s renewable energy targets.  It can deliver greenhouse gas reductions in the power, heat and transport sectors and biomass can also be used as a feedstock for renewable chemical production.  Uptake is being encouraged by a range of government policy initiatives, but progress in deployment to deliver much-needed greenhouse gas reductions has been slow and the sustainability of many feedstocks has come under intense scrutiny.

This debate brings together panellists from academia, business and other stakeholders to discuss whether or not the UK should increase its support for bioenergy.  There is an urgent need to increase renewable energy deployment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and many mature bioenergy technologies could contribute to that, but there has been only limited commercial success to date. So is increased policy support needed? 

Unsustainable biomass production could increase greenhouse gas emissions rather than reduce them, so perhaps support should be limited or more targeted.

In addition concerns have been raised about the wider environmental, social and economic impacts of biomass production, so is UK policy exacerbating these?

There is also only a finite amount of biomass available and incentivizing one use risks there being insufficient left for other key areas.  Perhaps biomass should be reserved for aviation or chemical production, where there are few alternative; perhaps it is more important to get substantial near term greenhouse gas reductions by increasing the UK’s biomass power generation capacity; or perhaps we should be focusing efforts on the longer term “prize” of negative emissions from biomass electricity with carbon capture and storage.

A range of speakers will give their perspective and there will be opportunity for questions, discussion and debate.  Please join us for what promises to be a fascinating and wide ranging discussion.

Our panellists will be:

Kevin Anderson and Patricia Thornley from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Gerry Newton-Cross from the Energy Technologies Institute
Kenneth Richter from Friends of the Earth
Paul Willson from PB Power

All are welcome, so please feel free to circulate this information to your contacts.

Note: This part of a series of events funded under the EPSRC ‘Biobridges’ project at University of Manchester, led by Professor Kevin Anderson.


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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1 Response to Upcoming Event: Bioenergy debate in #Manchester Mon 20th May #tyndall

  1. I have thought about attending this event but I do have another meeting to attend later that evening. And what exactly would this talking shop actually achieve. A lot of Government support goes towards biomass incineration already, the Renewable Heat Iincentive (RHI) is very generous, commercial up to 199kW/h; 8.6pkW/h and 200kW/h – 1MW/h; 5.3pkW/h. Far more generous than cleaner techologies such as Solar PV. It is also known to be as polluting as coal, especially if proper combustion is not achieved but with the Sulphur. So burning it would not reduce greenhouse emissions and would only exaberate poor air quality in urban areas. Drax, a coal-burning power station is importing 1,000s tonnes of wood, to enable it to continue running. Where is all this wood coming from and if biomass is further expanded, where is all this wood going to come from? Britain was an entirely forested island which became deforested, primarlly for domestic wood burning before the invention of steam engines enabled the exploitation of coal.
    I also remeber a few ago, the Co-op boasted that they had helped one of their farmers set-up an AD bio-digester plant. He was going to get rid of his dairy cattle and grow energy crops to fuel his bio-digester plant. Therefore removing land out of food production, which is nonsense. Abroad, notably Spain and South America, they use the sillage from animals, as well as other organic waste, to power their bio-digester plants, keeping the land for food production.
    And remember, a tree takes decades to grow, absorbing the CO2 during this period. Then you are then going to burn it, in a matter of minutes, this is not a sustainable option. And it does not take into account, the fossil fuels used for felling, production and transportation of the wood fuel.

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