Support for rural businesses

Renewable energy is of increasing importance to rural business. With a wide range of natural resource and space available, rural businesses have great potential to diversify, supply the feedstock and provide the locations for renewable energy technologies.

Rural businesses can play a key role in the change to a low-carbon economy.

As major suppliers of bioenergy feedstock, and as both users and exporters of green power, rural businesses and landowners have several opportunities to diversify into the growing bioenergy and bioproduct sectors.

The business support team at the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University is keen to work with rural businesses and landowners to explore bioenergy, bioproducts and supply chain opportunities, examine the business case for bioenergy enterprises and assist in technical deployment. If you’re keen to find out how you can get involved, read on…

Bioenergy and bioproduct business support to rural enterprises

EBRI’s work with rural enterprises and landowners includes a structured programme of free events,  knowledge transfer activities and one to one expertise focused on the application of bioenergy technologies, bioproducts, and the development of new low carbon products and services. If you’d like to speak to an EBRI adviser about how we can help, get in touch.

Some useful facts for you to consider:

  • Rural businesses can play a key role in the change to a low-carbon economy.
  • Bioenergy is already making a substantial contribution to meeting global energy demand. This contribution can be expanded very significantly in the future, providing greenhouse gas savings and other environmental benefits, as well as contributing to energy security, improving trade balances, providing opportunities for social and economic development in rural communities, and improving the management of resources and wastes.*
  • Bioenergy could sustainably contribute between a quarter and a third of global primary energy supply in 2050. It is the only renewable source that can replace fossil fuels in all energy markets – in the production of heat, electricity, and fuels for transport.*
  • The introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive for commercial installations in November 2011 has increased the interest in bioenergy. Heat produced can be used within the business e.g. glasshouse production or exported via a district heating system to local customers.
  • According to NNFCC, there are now 579 operational anaerobic digestion (AD) plants in the UK, including 88 biomethane-to-grid plants, and a further 331 anaerobic digestion projects under development.
  • The UK publisher ‘Farmers Weekly’ conducted a survey amongst 698 UK farmers and landowners which revealed that 38% farmers have already installed at least one renewable energy technology. Of these, 75% are likely to make further investments.
  • Neither the burning of biomass for heat nor the digestion of biomaterial through AD are new processes. However, with the scale of investment likely for installation of these processes, innovative bioenergy technologies could provide distinct added value over standard treatments and make a difference to viability and deployment.
  • R&D is focused upon improving organic feedstock quality, broadening the range of usable feedstock type for biogas and biomass through pre-treatment, improving the digestion process, and upgrading gas quality in AD to enable wider use e.g. as a transport fuel, and introducing new processes such as pyrolysis for the treatment of digestate.

*Bioenergy – a Sustainable and Reliable Energy Source, Main Report, IEA Bioenergy


To find out how we can help your rural business email [email protected] or call 0121 204 3383

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