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Supergen Bioenergy Hub news

Supergen Bioenergy Hub researchers present at the European Biomass Conference & Exhibition (EUBCE) 2021

During the week commencing 26 April 2021 several of our researchers took part in EUBCE 2021, including Alberto Almena Ruiz (Aston University) who presented his work during the Scientific Opening Plenary session, and Andrew Welfle (University of Manchester) who delivered a keynote presentation outlining his work on the Bioenergy Sustainability Indicator Model. Full details of Hub involvement at EUBCE can be found on our website.

New SHARE Newsletter showcases activities in our early career researcher network

Our SHARE Network for early career researchers engaged in bioenergy research has released its first Quarterly Newsletter detailing more information about their new Committee and Ambassador structure, upcoming events such as the secondment networking workshop, and their very own Lecture Series that showcases the research being done within the community.

Supergen Bioenergy Hub events

Secondment Networking Event for early career researchers, 6 May, 13:00-17:00 BST, online

This secondment networking event is open to all early career researchers engaged in bioenergy who are part of our member institutions and wish to hear more about potential secondments to companies in the sector. During the session several companies will be presenting more information about the secondment opportunities they have on offer, which will be followed by one-to-one networking slots which will enable researchers to explore these opportunities in more detail.

Researchers’ Day Meeting, 7 May, 09:00-17:00 BST, online

We are bringing together the very best in science and engineering research within and beyond the Hub and our community, around our six bioenergy case studies, during our Researchers’ Day Meeting next month. The day will be divided into dedicated sessions which will explore each case study and the relevant research, enabling us to further examine the case studies and their ability to contribute to the UK’s sustainable bioenergy future, and will finish with details on our final upcoming funding call.

Funding and opportunities from the Supergen Bioenergy Hub

Upcoming Challenge Call funding, to be announced shortly

Our final round of Challenge Call funding will be announced shortly after our Researchers’ Day Meeting taking place on 7 May, which will be for two projects up to £100k each. The call will be focused on research work relevant to the case studies, therefore it is strongly recommended that all potential flexible fund applicants attend the Researchers’ Day Meeting to learn more about the Hub, its case studies and how their work can complement and support the core research programme. Keep an eye on our social media pages and website for our announcement.

Supergen Bioenergy Hub membership highlight

Aberdeen Environmental Modelling Group


The Aberdeen Environmental Modelling Group is an active research hub investigating low carbon developments and renewable energy and collaborates with other programs in respect of bioenergy (UKERC, ADVANCES, ADVENT, FAB-GGR). We develop bioenergy models and provide regional to global scale projections, models include PopFor, ELUM and MiscanFor (mentioned in the SuperGen scoping report, Welfle et al, 2020) covering miscanthus cultivars, src woodlands yield, BECCS and environmental impacts. We investigate the impact of bioenergy from the point of view of the grower, industry and surrounding communities. and are linked with breeding programs upscaling bioenergy feedstock for electricity generation.

Case Study

Many miscanthus crops are immature and so in 2019 we determined age-related commercial Miscanthus x giganteus yields but this project also yielded as much about the growers and the community from the grower surveys. Stakeholder Terravesta communicates project outcomes to growers and use outcomes to market miscanthus uptake. Growers are indifferent if projections over-estimate; providing realistic projections of yield allows calculation of crop financial viability. Growers are pragmatic, surveyed they said they chose miscanthus as a problem-solving crop due to low management requirements which allowed cropping of remote fields, inaccessible fields and non-spraying near playgrounds which had reduced crop vandalism.

Benefits of Hub membership

The University of Aberdeen Environmental Modelling Group is new to Membership of the Hub which reinforces academic collaboration in bioenergy and BECCS with other Hub members in projects concerning Miscanthus improvement like GRACE and bioenergy development like ASSESS-BECCS and FAB-GGR. Membership has also provided access to funding opportunities with the opportunity to submit a Supergen fellowship proposal.

Research Focus & Key Contacts

  • Hastings, A., Michal Mos, Jalil A Yesufu, Jon McCalmont, Kai Schwarz, Reza Shafei, Chris Ashman, Chris Nunn, Heinrich Schuele, Salvatore Cosentino, Giovanni Scalici, Danilo Scordia, Moritz Wagner, John Clifton-Brown. 2017, Economic and environmental assessment of seed and rhizome propagated Miscanthus in the UK. Frontiers of Plant Science. 8, 1058.
  • Henner, D.N., Hastings A, Pogson M, McNamara NP, Davies CA, Smith P (2020) PopFor: A new model for estimating poplar yields. Biomass and Bioenergy, 134.
  • Guo, Y., Abdalla M, Espenberg M, Hastings A, Hallett P, Smith P (2021) A systematic analysis and review of the impacts of afforestation on soil quality indicators as modified by climate zone, forest type and age. Science of the Total Environment, 757.
  • Shepherd, A., Clifton-Brown, J., Buckby, S., Hastings, A. 2020. Early commercial experience with Miscanthus crops: establishment, yields and environmental observations. GCB Bioenergy, 12(7), 510-523,
  • Shepherd, A., Littleton, E., Clifton-Brown, J., Martin, M., Hastings, A. 2020. Projections of global and UK bioenergy from miscanthus – feedstock yield, carbon cycling and power generation in the 21st century. GCB Bioenergy, 12:4, 287-305.
Reader Astley Hastings
Conducting research into the GHG emissions and environmental impact and its mitigation from land use, low carbon energy and transport infrastructure and also on greenhouse gas removal using afforestation and bioenergy carbon capture and storage. Decomissioning and reuse of offshore energy assets and the impact on the environment.
Professor Pete Smith 
Global change impacts on ecosystems, soils, agricultural and land based options to mitigate climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, environmental and agricultural sustainability, global carbon cycle, ecosystem modelling, food security, ecosystem services, bioenergy (including BECCS).
Dr Anita Shepherd
Modelling of miscanthus, environmental effects, climate impacts.
Dr Marta Dondini
ELUM model for GHG emissions and soil carbon change with land use change to miscanthus.
Yang Guo
Impacts of afforestation on soil quality.


News from our partners

The role of biomass in achieving net zero: call for evidence, now open

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched its open consultation titled “The role of biomass in achieving net zero”, closing on 15 June 2021. Responses received will inform the development of the UK Biomass Strategy, to be published in 2022.

Events from our partners

UK Research and Innovation Net Zero Webinar Series, online

UK Research and Innovation has announced a webinar series focused on how innovation, collaboration and engagement will come together to help the UK reach net zero by 2050, with the next one taking place on 18 May focusing on sustainable transport.

Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub Competition Briefing, 12 May, 10:00-13:00 BST

The Department for Transport and Innovate UK are hosting a competition briefing event in collaboration with the Knowledge Transfer Network to provide details of the Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub funding competition. The competition will fund demonstration projects, helping to provide operational insight into the use of green hydrogen in a real-world transport setting while informing large-scale operational trials from 2022. Up to £3M is available to support a series of hydrogen transport demonstrations across Tees Valley.

Climate Exp0, week commencing 17 May, online

Organised by the COP26 Universities Network and UK Research and Innovation, the Climate Exp0 will showcase the latest research ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference, taking place this year in Glasgow.

Centre for Circular Chemical Economy: Launch event, 25 May, 10:00-12:00 BST

The UKRI Interdisciplinary Centre for Circular Chemical Economy is a £4.4M UKRI investment and is in partnership with seven Universities - Loughborough, Cardiff, Heriot-Watt, Imperial College London, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield and involves more than 20 industrial partners. For the launch event a range of experts and leading businesses will discuss the road to circular chemical economy, environmental impact and balancing profits and purpose.

Sustainable Waste Management Conference, 4-6 August, online

The call for abstracts ahead of the Sustainable Waste Management Conference in August, closes on 4 May. This year the conference will focus on biochar; circular economy; plastics and sustainability; food waste; system modelling; waste to energy; low carbon technology; wastewater treatment and recycling.

Funding and opportunities from our partners

Race equality surveys – ‘Have your say’, closing 24 May 2021

Following the launch of the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council’s race equality initiative, three race equality surveys are now open aimed at doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers and academic researchers, closing on 24 May 2021.

Job opening for Professor/Reader in Bioenergy and Bioproducts, closing 1 June 2021

The Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute based at Aston University seeks applications for a chair/reader in bioenergy and bioproducts, applications close on 1 June 2021.

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