£12 billion bioenergy market “a must” for West Midlands businesses

West Midlands businesses and entrepreneurs are being urged to tap into the growth opportunities around bioenergy – forecast to generate in excess of £12 billion of new business in the UK in the next decade – following the launch of a new suite of ‘innovation services’ from a world-leading Aston University research and business engagement team.

The European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI), whose experts have been undertaking bioenergy research for over 35 years, has already equipped over 70 businesses in the region with the skills and knowledge to respond to opportunities around bioenergy through its European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) backed-programme, and is now inviting interest for its free support services from micro-sized or SME companies to leading multinationals.

The support is not limited to businesses currently specialising in bioenergy – for example, firms who develop energy from organic matter. In the past 18 months EBRI has worked with forward-thinking business leaders in construction, consultancy, engineering, financial services, investment and business development, land and property management, utilities and waste management who are eager to build up their knowledge and take full advantage of this complex, yet fast-growing, market.

“The development and application of bioenergy technology has been identified as an acute priority for the West Midlands as the geographical constraints limit the region’s potential to generate renewable energy from alternative technologies such as wind, marine and tidal power – addressing this issue head on is fast becoming ‘a must’ for businesses and entrepreneurs in the region,” explained Tom Anderson, Business Development Manager at EBRI.

“We want to transfer our specialist knowledge around bioenergy to businesses in the West Midlands, assisting and collaborating with them, and making sure that the organisations are, firstly, aware of the vast potential of the bioenergy market regardless of their own sector; and, secondly, that they are taking advantage of the commercial opportunities.

“Ultimately our goal is to support the commercialisation of emerging bioenergy technologies to stimulate growth in the region’s manufacturing, power technologies and engineering sectors leading
to the development of an internationally-competitive bioenergy supply chain in the West Midlands.”

For businesses and entrepreneurs with limited knowledge of bioenergy, EBRI is running a free bioenergy ‘master class’ in November. The introductory course is designed to help participants understand how to exploit the commercial opportunities around bioenergy, including accessing funding, and get to grips with core bioenergy technologies that are relevant to individual businesses.

More advanced – but also free – services are available to help businesses and entrepreneurs benefit from the required technical, regulatory and economic expertise. Specific research and development services are gasification modelling, pyrolysis testing, biofuels analysis, biofuels upgrading and engine testing; project appraisals, planning advice, technical support and collaborative or contract research are also available. At the heart of EBRI’s testing facilities is a Pyroformer™ which generates cost-effective heat and power from multiple waste sources.

Businesses interested in working with EBRI should contact Tom Anderson, Business Development Manager, on 0121 204 4961 or email bioenergy@aston.ac.uk.

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To arrange an interview with Tom Anderson please contact Phil Smith on 07584 170878 or email phil@communicationsmanagement.co.uk

Notes to Editors

The European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI)

EBRI based at Aston University delivers world-class research into all aspects of bioenergy. EBRI has been established since 2007 and bioenergy research has been taking place at the University from as early as 1978. EBRI was recently awarded £8.2 million from the European Regional Development Fund to build a new world-class facility for West Midlands businesses working in bioenergy technologies and component supply chain manufacturers to try out, test and get ready for market new products and processes within this field. www.bioenergy-midlands.org

The European Regional Development Fund Programme

The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme which runs from 2007 to 2013. This is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development. The West Midlands ERDF Programme has been allocated €400 million to invest in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. Priority areas and themes for the West Midlands are: Innovation and Research & Development, Enterprise Development, Sustainable Urban Development, and Inter-Regional Activity. www.communities.gov.uk/erdf

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