Forest Research is establishing a ‘one stop shop’ able to provide advice and guidance – signposting to other specialised sources of advice as necessary – on a wide range of biomass fuels and conversion technologies. This initiative has been undertaken in support of Government’s response to recommendations made by the Biomass Task Force.
The initial focus will be on woodfuel and some energy crops, drawing on results and knowledge accumulated over many years by staff linked to our own Woodfuel Research Centre.
Over the coming months we will develop links with experts in other sectors of the bio-energy industry, including waste management, and establish an information service dedicated to biomass derived heat and energy technologies and supply chains. Information will be provided via a dedicated website and helpline.
The services provided by the Biomass Energy Centre will complement the functions of the National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC) which promotes and advises on the whole range of non-food uses of crops. The NNFCC has particular expertise in development of markets for farm crops which include their use for fuel and energy. The Biomass Energy Centre and NNFCC will work closely together with appropriate signposting to each others’ activities.
The Biomass Energy Centre (BEC) will be owned and managed by the Forestry Commission, via Forest Research. A steering group comprised of representatives from the biomass industry and related sectors will oversee the development of the BEC and bring with them their own expertise that the BEC will draw on. The capability of the BEC will increase over the coming months as the network of Biomass experts linked to the BEC develops. Once fully operational the BEC will:
- Act as a single point of contact on biomass providing links to more specialised sources of information, including other renewables technologies
- Be staffed by expert advisers (contactable now)
- Provide technical and scientific advice and best practice guidance on technologies, environmental issues and funding
- Have a clear focus on market development
- Link development to assessment of barriers and risks, including environmental aspects of land management
- Help land managers to optimise benefits, including the management of woodlands to improve biodiversity while providing revenue from biomass
- Actively engage with regional and national information providers, supplying them with core information and responding to their specific information needs.
Further details on the Biomass Energy Centre will be posted on this page as they become available, alternatively email Biomass.Centre@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or telephone Andy Hall on 07771 810 130 or Ian Tubby on 01420 526227.
Source: Forest Research April 28, 2006.