European nations pledge cash to bioenergy research

Eight European nations have committed a total of €47 million over the next three years to develop innovative bioenergy projects throughout Europe, and stimulate up to €100 million in further private investment in the technology.

The UK has committed €12.5 million the ERA-NET Plus BESTF scheme, with the rest made up by contributions from Finland, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland and Portugal.

Organisations will be invited to put forward proposals for innovative projects in early 2013, with grants expected to be made in early 2014. Heating, transport and electricity schemes are all eligible for the scheme, but all projects must be collaborative with the participation of at least two of the contributing states, with no participant contributing more than 70% of the activity. All proposals must also demonstrate a route to commercialisation and must have financial support of at least 51% of the total project costs from the commercial sector.

UK energy minister John Hayes said: “Bioenergy has an important role to play in our energy mix, helping cut carbon as well as support jobs and spur on economic growth on a national and international scale.”

He added: “Britain has been the global engine room of innovation for centuries. I want to see that rich tradition continue in the energy sector. This scheme will help businesses develop a range of different innovative projects by combining public and private sector investment to make the most of this exciting technology.”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will put up €7.4 million into the scheme, while the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Technology Strategy Board with together contribute a further €5.1 million.

See our 3 part feature on the viability of Biofuels here

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