The European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University

Supporting bioenergy in the West Midlands

The West Midlands Bioenergy Support Centre (BSC) is one of five regional BSCs created throughout North West Europe as part of the BioenNW Interreg IVB project. BioenNW is focused on the promotion and adoption of small-scale bioenergy schemes throughout parts of the UK, France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. These schemes use a range of biomass and combine innovative technologies such as anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis and gasification.

The West Midlands BSC is run by the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University in collaboration with Birmingham City Council and offers support to local and regional businesses, authorities and investors.

West Midlands BSC Structure:
• Steering Group chaired by the Director of the European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University. Other members of this Group are from Aston University, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Science City and Sustainability West Midlands. The Steering Group oversees the BSCs activities and supports its Executive Team in developing a strategy and prioritised programme of activities. The Steering Group meets 4 times a year.
• Executive Team (led by BSC Manager) to deliver BSC activities as agreed with the Steering Group. The Executive Team meets every month and maintains and develops relationships with existing and new BSC members. The Team leads the range of services offered by the BSC.
• Regional Experts are leading professionals from networks and organisations in the West Midlands who have experience in bioenergy technology, infrastructure, planning, property development and commercialisation of research.

Bioenergy Support Network Newsletter, Edition#3, December 2013 

New facilities to enhance world-class bioenergy research activity

268513-016The European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) unveiled brand new facilities last month (28 October), which will allow the Institute to expand its world-class bioenergy research and knowledge transfer activity.

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham officially opened EBRI’s new ‘home’ at Aston University in Birmingham, UK and spoke at the opening event, alongside Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Julia King and EBRI Director Professor Andreas Hornung. Read more…


Call for West Midlands businesses to provide organic waste to fuel revolutionary new bioenergy technology

EBRI is asking West Midlands businesses and manufacturers to send their organic waste for testing in a new bioenergy technology developed by its researchers. Read more…

New EBRI Director 

Tony BridgwaterDue to increase commitments as Director of both EBRI and the Institute Branch Sulzbach-Rosenbergof Fraunhofer UMSICHT, Professor Hornung has decided to relinquish his role as Director of EBRI to dedicate     his time to the development of the Fraunhofer Institute. Professor Hornung remains a Professor at Aston University. Professor Tony Bridgwater has been appointed as the new Director of EBRI. Professor Bridgwater   is the Head of Aston’s Bioenergy Research Group (BERG), working on fast pyrolysis and European projects such as BRISK and SUPERGEN. Professor Bridgwater’s details can be found here.


New Director of Research at European Bioenergy Research Institute

_DSC2319Leading catalysis and green chemistry expert, Professor Karen Wilson has been appointed as Director of Research at EBRI.

 Karen has established a substantial reputation in heterogeneous catalysis for clean chemical technologies; in particular the conversion of sustainable and renewable resources to fuels and chemicals.



Supporting bioenergy in the West Midlands

EBRI’s engagement with rural businesses:

  • Rural businesses and landowners are increasingly turning to renewable energy solutions, due to a range of issues impacting upon their current rural business activities, including the rising costs of energy and transport fuels, environmental legislation and the impact of climate change. Recognising the potential in this sector, the business support team at the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University has been keen to work with rural businesses and landowners to explore bioenergy and supply chain opportunities, examine the business case for bioenergy enterprises and assist in technical deployment. EBRI has delivered a structured programme of workshops and knowledge transfer activities throughout November to businesses located in Warwickshire and Herefordshire (rural parts of the West Midlands) to enable and encourage these businesses to take up the application of bioenergy technologies. The introduction of renewable energy activities offers business diversification opportunities for rural and farm enterprises looking to enter a new market. Farmers Weekly recently conducted a survey amongst 698 farmers and landowners which revealed that 38% farmers have already installed at least one renewable energy technology. Of these, 75% are likely to make further investments. As major suppliers of bioenergy feedstock, and as both users and exporters of green power, rural businesses and landowners have several opportunities diversify into the bioenergy sector. EBRI plans to continue its engagement with rural businesses via a series of ‘one-to-one’ bioenergy feasibility studies, where experts from EBRI will work with the companies to identify opportunities for innovative bioenergy technology to be deployed ‘on site’ in rural locations. For more information please contact: Tom Anderson (
  • Europe’s new €70 billion fund, Horizon 2020, will be launched in January 2014 to support businesses with research and innovation. EBRI is organising a free workshop on Monday 9th December 2013 for West Midlands businesses. The session will include vital information and expert advice which will enable delegates to be in the best position to apply for funding.                   To register visit:
  • If you produce any biomass feedstock and are based in the West Midlands please contact us for free advice on how to convert waste into energy.

Success story from France

The farm of la Tremblaye, located in a city called La Boissière-École, is one of the first anaerobic digestion units in Ile-de-France.


Specialised in the production of cheese and dairy products; since November 2012 the farm makes energy from its manure and wastes. With a team of 40 people, the farm includes 130 ha of farmland and 180 ha of forest, 150 cows and 600 goats.

Painted green to promote its integration into the landscape, the farm has two Fermenters of 1500 m3, a gas engine, a generator and a storage tank of 5500 m3 producing almost 1200 tons annually.

All the manure from cows and goats, the rest of their local cultures (because the cows are fed through the crops produced on the farm), as well as from its dairy whey is placed into the fermenter to produce biogas which supplies the engine.

This engine produces electricity for all the needs of the farm. And even well beyond this as more than 250 KW are produced thanks to these technology and facilities; 250 KW equals to the average annual consumption of 500 to 600 French households.

The farm sells a large part of the surplus of electricity generated to the French electric company in ERDF. In the near future, it is also foreseen that the heat generated by the gas engine will be used to heat a water system that will feed all of the radiators in the cheese factory.

Biofuel Research Opportunities

PrintAre you interested in:

  • Biofuels?
  • Thermal biomass conversion?
  • Using the facilities of leading European laboratories?

Biofuels Research Infrastructure for Sharing Knowledge (BRISK)

BRISK opens up a wide variety of research infrastructures via Transnational Access, allowing researchers outside and inside the project to conduct experiments. It will pay for facility access costs along with a grant for travel and subsistence for those researchers based in an eligible country.

Infrastructure is available to all in Europe and qualifying countries.

The BRISK network will encourage and facilitate cooperative research in the project partners’ laboratories. Researchers can apply to go to any of the project partners located outside their home country to utilize the thermal biomass conversion facilities.

Applications for access

If you are interested in applying for access, or require further information please visit the BRISK website.

How to join the Bioenergy Support Network

It’s easy to join the Bioenergy Support Network within the West Midlands. Just complete the online application form.

For more information, contact Christelle Harrison, European Bioenergy Research Institute on +44 (0) 121 204 5318 or at

Future events

EBRI runs a programme of seminars and workshops throughout the year. Topics range from technology, finance, legislation to planning. The BioenNW website has details of bioenergy related events in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Is there an event you’d like to see? Email with your suggestions.


Membership Application

UK Bioenergy Support Centre Contact

Aston University (European Bioenergy Research Institute)

Contact: Joanna Fletcher
Telephone: +44 (0)121 204 4303

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Aston University (European Bioenergy Research Institute)

Contact:Joanna Fletcher
Telephone:+44 (0)121 204 4303

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