The UK could generate almost half its energy needs from biomass sources, including household waste, agricultural residues and home-grown biofuels by 2050, new research suggests.
Scientists from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at The University of Manchester found that the UK could produce up to 44% of its energy by these means without the need to import.
The study, published in Energy Policy journal, highlights the country's potential abundance of biomass resources that are currently underutilised and totally overlooked by the bioenergy sector. Instead, say the authors, much of the UK bioenergy sector is heading towards increased reliance on biomass resources that will have to be imported from abroad.
Study author Andrew Welfle said: "The UK has legally binding renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets, and energy from biomass is anticipated to make major contributions to these. The widely discussed barriers for energy from biomass include the competition for land that may otherwise be used to grow food and the narrative that biomass will have to be imported to the UK if we want to use increased levels of bioenergy. But our research has found that the UK could produce large levels of energy from biomass without importing resources or negatively impacting the UK's ability to feed itself."
The research involved analysing the UK's biomass supply chains and investigating how different pathways that the UK could take may influence the potential bioenergy that the country could generate from its own resources up to 2050.
The pathways the team analysed included a future with economic focus, investigating how the future UK bioenergy sector may look if economic growth was the prime focus; a conservation focus pathway, where the conservation of resources is the key future aim; an energy focus pathway, where the UK pushes towards achieving the maximum practical levels of bioenergy generated fro
|Contact: Aeron Haworth|
University of Manchester