Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Scientists meet growers and policy makers in Southampton to identify a sustainable bioenergy future for the UK

Published: 7 December 2012

Scientists, growers, energy experts and Government policymakers have held two days of talks on the role of bioenergy crops in generating energy in the UK. Professor Gail Taylor from the University of Southampton’s Centre for Biological Sciences hosted the meeting, which was co-sponsored by the university’s multi-disciplinary Energy group.

Although it is recognised that bioenergy should play a significant role in the UK's portfolio of renewable energy technologies, the industry is developing slowly. One reason is the uncertainty of yields of new crops such as short rotation coppice trees, including willow and poplar, and perennial grasses such as miscanthus. The experts considered how to improve those yields through breeding programmes. They also discussed whether the impacts of climate change will be positive or negative for the crops and if the greenhouse gas balance or ‘carbon foot print' has been correctly determined.

Duncan Eggar, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Centre (BBSRC) Bioenergy Champion and meeting co-chair says: "The meeting was a timely opportunity to establish agreement on what yields can be achieved today and in the future, while maintaining the sustainability of these crops and without compromising our food production capabilities."

The group will produce a short document for policy makers, on current and likely future yields and how these may be achieved including a consideration of the potential of genetic modification.

Related Staff Member

Privacy Settings