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Renewable Energy Assocation wins £60,000 EU funding for UK biogas sector training in Germany

The UK’s Renewable Energy Association (REA) has been successful in a bid to manage a €76,000 (£60,000) biogas training programme.

The Advanced Biogas Learning in Europe (ABLE) programme will fund trips to Germany for 30 UK professionals and young graduates, enabling them to learn from leading practitioners in all areas of anaerobic digestion (AD) technology.

Funded by the EU Leonardo programme, the aim is to offer UK companies, farming enterprises, or other organisations active in the UK biogas sector the opportunity to send potential or current employees for on-site experience and training at German biogas plants, laboratories or factories. The project - which will be run in partnership with the German Biogas and Bioenergy Society (GERBIO) - is principally aimed at young people looking to develop a “hands on” career in the green economy.

REA Chief Executive Gaynor Hartnell said: “Earlier this year, our report Made in Britain made clear that fostering the skills necessary for the transition to a low carbon, high renewables economy must be a national priority. This project is the REA’s first practical step in boosting the UK skills base.”

Anaerobic digestion helps meet a range of environmental and waste management objectives, she said. “ It is one of the most versatile energy technologies, with the potential to provide renewable heat, power and transport fuels,” she added, noting it also offers “fantastic diversification opportunities for UK farmers, increasing the inclusiveness and resilience of our energy supply”.

REA Head of Biogas David Collins said the course represents “a unique learning opportunity” not currently available in the UK. “The UK AD industry being still in development, companies have to guard their technical knowledge closely to maintain early-stage competitiveness. The German industry, with 20 years’ experience and 7,000 plants, is in a better position to be able share this valuable knowledge with current and aspiring biogas professionals.”

The programme starts in September this year and will run until May 2014. Applications will formally open on the REA website next week. 

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