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BBSRC response to The Bow Group Target Paper, “The Case for Energy Crops”

22 July 2010

BBSRC notes with interest The Bow Group Target Paper, "The Case for Energy Crops", and welcomes that the Group has highlighted a role for sustainably produced energy crops in meeting the UK's 2015 target of delivering 15.4% of electricity from renewable sources.

However, we would wish to see this contribution from energy crops set in the context of wider energy demands, and in particular in terms of meeting the need to substitute fossil-based liquid transport fuels.

Duncan Eggar, BBSRC Bioenergy Champion, said, "While this report focuses on renewable electricity generation, the UK needs an holistic policy for the production and use of renewable and other energy sources. We believe that this requires using sustainably produced energy crops. BBSRC-funded research, including that at the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre, is exploring a variety of biomass feedstocks that have the potential to be harnessed for a wide range energy uses, including electricity generation and liquid transport fuels. Work at the Centre underpins the bioenergy sector through research that addresses the bottlenecks of bioenergy production - from plant growth and composition through to fermentation and energy production. The Centre is also analysing the environmental and social impact of bioenergy production along the whole of this bioenergy pipeline."


About BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre

The BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre is a £26M investment that increases UK bioenergy research capacity. It brings together six world-class research groups. This creates a network with expertise and specialist resources that span the bioenergy pipeline from growing biomass to fermentation for biofuels. The centre's programmes work closely with industrial partners. Ensuring that bioenergy is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable is core to the Centre's programmes. Life cycle analysis embeds this across the portfolio. For more information visit:


BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £470M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.