Institutes and centres:

Perennial bioenergy crops

Biomass from fast-growing trees and grasses is a sustainable source of renewable energy. However we need to improve the yields of biomass feedstock to meet government objectives in bioenergy and biofuel. The biggest challenges are to improve yields without increasing inputs and to make more of the plants' carbon available for conversion into biofuels.

Image: Rothamsted Research Ltd
Image: Rothamsted Research

Aims and objectives

Key resources and technologies

Programme lead

Associated programme members

Case study – Plant scientists reach for the skies

A futuristic rooftop greenhouse, built on top of a five-storey building at Imperial College London, is providing scientists over 200 square metres of temperature- and light-controlled growing space for a variety of plant species, allowing them to carry out large-scale plant experiments in an urban location for the first time.

Dr Nicholas Brereton
Dr Nicholas Brereton

Fifty young willows have been planted in the 'GroDome' by researchers from Imperial’s Division of Biology and the Porter Institute for Biofuels. Principal Investigator Dr Richard Murphy explained, "If we can find efficient, lowenergy ways of getting our hands on the vast quantities of sugars and other chemicals locked up in willows and other woody biomass crops we will unlock a key non-food resource for biofuels that grows easily in cool climates like the UK.

"The support we have had from the Porter Institute, Rothamsted Research and the new BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre has been a key element in getting this vital research going".

External contact

Dr Angela Karp, BSBEC Perennial Bioenergy Crops Programme, Rothamsted Research


Tel: +44 (0)1582 763133 ext 2855