Biomass event in Forres

Wednesday 2 May, 10.00 am to 2.00 pm, Burgie House, Burgie Estate, Forres

A free Biomass Heat Demonstration Day run by HWEnergy, Saffery Champness and Scottish Land & Estates has been announced to help pull together local expertise in biomass and create a networking opportunity.

This demonstration event will allow you to see and hear about biomass systems working in practice and to discuss operating a domestic biomass system.

The event will consist of presentations on:

  • Biomass systems and RHI;
  • Tax efficient holding structures;
  • Forestry and fuel production;
  • Finances; and
  • Funding and planning permissions.
  • For more information contact


    New science features and news site launched…..

    A new website, ScienceOmega, aimed at showcasing high-quality scientific features and news has been launched and may be worth keeping an eye on.

    It is boasting quite a list of contributors – Sir Patrick Moore, Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation Dr Lars Heikensten, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Dr Hamadoun Touré, President of the United States’ Council for Chemical Research (CCR) Dr Seth Snyder, Chief Executive of the Society of Biology Dr Mark Downs.

    It is aiming to cover a very wide range of disciplines. Science Omega says it “has one overarching goal; to communicate high-quality scientific content to the largest possible audience. It is paramount that Science Omega contains content that will interest the scientific community. However, science cannot afford to be elitist, and we are convinced that if we present material in a clear and engaging way, it will prove fascinating for scientists and non-scientists alike.”

    Speeding up small scale anaerobic digestion

    February 2012: New project to speed up the development and proving of small scale anaerobic digestion technologies.

    Anaerobic digestion has been cited by the government as a way of reducing carbon emission, providing energy security and generating green jobs. It is a vital tool in achieving a low carbon future, and feasibility studies confirm the market demand and acceptance of anaerobic digestion (AD) technology. The potential of this technology has only been within reach of large, profitable organisations, but a new project aimed at bringing cutting-edge AD technologies to rural and smaller scale businesses is being launched to combat this.

    The Small Scale Anaerobic Digestion Technology (SSAD-TECH) platform provides underpinning process technology for the development of a series of commercial products for the local treatment of organic waste to produce energy (either as biogas, heat or electricity) and digestate, which can be considered as a non-fossil fuel derived fertiliser.

    A five-strong consortium is led by The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and comprises CNG Services Ltd, Lyvennet Renewable Energy, Wardell Armstrong LLP and Field Science Limited. With grant funding from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board, the project works with a total budget of £880,000 and will run over two years. A part of the government’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, CPI is home to existing anaerobic digestion development facilities and is ideally placed to coordinate, direct and deliver another successful project.

    The innovative aspects of the SSAD-TECH system include:

      The relatively small size (throughputs between 2500 and 5000 tonnes per annum)
      Small footprint, enabling stand alone integration into existing sites and facilities
      Modular build configuration, designed to meet the needs of the agricultural and food manufacturing sectors
      Low capital cost (£350-500,000)
      Short payback period (3-6 years)
      Commercially viable plant at a small scale, 60-150kWe
      Next generation digester technology, optimized for digester stability and performance efficiency.

    FULL DETAILS FROM CPI WEBSITE (with further links)

    UK Energy Research Centre Summer School 2012

    The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) have announced revised dates for it’s eighth annual Energy Summer School; from 17th June – 22nd June 2012, at the University of Warwick. There will be 100 places available for UK and international students.

    The School has been specifically designed to give second year PhD students an understanding of energy systems as a whole and of pathways to low-carbon and resilient energy systems. This directly relates to international climate change issues and policies as students will become engaged in a mock United Nations style negotiations throughout the week in order to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions through the use of energy systems. This is a week-long course, which runs in parallel to UKERC’s Annual Assembly, and the course is professionally facilitated to provide continual support for participants, and includes a number of networking opportunities as well as social events.

    Applications are invited from those engaged in energy-related research including technical, physical, social, economic, environmental and business aspects of energy and energy systems.

    Nominations are open until 1700hrs (5pm) GMT Thursday, 8th March 2012. There is no charge for registered research students to attend the School; UKERC will provide accommodation and all meals and materials for activities. The School is conducted in English, and as it is highly interactive a good standard of comprehension and spoken English is essential.

    The nomination form can be accessed from the UKERC website

    Full information is available from the UK Energy Research Centre website at:

    TSB competition updates

    TSB competitions page

    Fuel cells and hydrogen: whole system integration
    The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £7.5m in collaborative research and development projects involving fuel cells and hydrogen energy systems. They aim to accelerate the commercialisation of these products by linking them with other technologies to form complete low-carbon solutions.

    One of the challenges facing fuel-cell and hydrogen technologies is to move from development to providing practical low-carbon solutions in combination with other energy and transport products. The aim of this competition is to encourage UK businesses developing fuel cells and hydrogen systems to work with partners to overcome the system integration challenges, to design complete solutions that can be easily used by customers and to gain an insight into the use of whole systems in realistic scenarios.

    This is a two-stage open competition. Proposals must be collaborative and business-led and must clearly present the benefits to UK businesses. Successful projects will generally attract up to 50% public funding and we expect the total cost of each project to be £3m-5m.

    Open date: 09 January 2012
    Registration close date: 15 February 2012
    Close date: 22 February 2012

    Full details at TSB website
    Download competition brief

    Optimisation of anaerobic digestion
    WRAP has a specific focus on the development and growth of a safe and sustainable AD industry in the UK and is working to deliver specific actions from Defra’s AD Strategy and Action Plan.
    The aims for this competition are to:

      Facilitate technology transfer from other industries that may have solved similar challenges to those currently facing the AD sector
      Demonstrate the most effective proposals
      Disseminate advice, data and best practice guidance to the sector to enable it to reap the benefits of the demonstration projects
      Biogas – cheaper technologies for gas use, better gas storage options and a reduction in methane losses (covering both existing gas use options such as CHP and new technologies such as fuel cells or liquefaction)
      Digestate – nutrient extraction and improving quality through technology or process optimisation, efficiencies in separation and application processes
      Better uses of heat, inline quality monitoring and uses for CO2

    Some key areas have been identified by the sector as requiring a specific focus: Pre-processing (ie reception and pre-treatment of feedstocks of all types); Inline or instant feedstock testing for contaminants, biogas yields, nutrient levels etc; Pre-treatment of feedstocks to improve digester operation, gas yields, digestate quality and/or manageability; Processing – improving efficiencies and reactor performance, inline monitoring of reactor performance and health, optimisation of digestion biology.

    Open date: 09 November 2011
    Close date: 21 December 2011

    Full details at:
    Download competition brief

    Scotland’s Transport Future in a Changing World

    Conference notes from Aviemore, Wed 28th Sept – from Iona

    Scotflag working groups are working on reducing carbon emissions from transport by 80% over 40 years. They are proposing a trial of increasing the lorry speed up to 50 MPH from the current 40 MPH, speculating this will reduce accidents by causing less frustration in other road-users. On the same theme, Phil Flanders (director at RHA Scotland and NI) advises the Scottish Government are also looking into increasing the speed limit for motorists on motorways from the current 70 up to 80 MPH, to reduce accidents and relieve build ups.

    Sam Greer from Regional Director Stagecoach Plc explained about the Bio buses project, launched in 2007, operating in Kilmarnock and Cambridge. The buses run on 100% recycled cooking oil, some of it collected from passengers who are encouraged to make deposits to containers on the bus itself (in return for dicounted bus travel). There are 9 buses which operate on the Kilmarnock route, all of which are fuelled by 100% waste-derived biofuel. This has contributed to a reduction in CO2 emissions from the vehicles by 80%, saving more than 2450 tonnes of carbon. More than 70 tonnes of used cooking oil has been recycled at East Ayrshire Council’s recycling plant since the start of the scheme.

    In a new project, Stagecoach has become the first UK bus company to mix its own biofuel on site using a new bio-blender installed at its Kilmarnock depot. Introduction of the high-tech kit will see around 100 buses in the west of Scotland operating on up to 40% biofuel which will be mixed on site (Currently, the vast majority of Stagecoach’s 8,100-strong bus fleet operates using a mix of 5% biofuel and 95% standard diesel). The Perth-based transport group has invested £75,000 in the new technology and has also worked closely with Argent Energy in the delivery of the project. The blender was supplied by Fuel Additive Technology (FAT) Biofuels while the pump was manufactured by Solution Specialists Limited (SSL).

    AEA report on micro-renewables in UK

    AEA have released their latest reports tracking the progress of micro-generation across the UK. This year there is a separate report for Scotland even though the main report includes data from Scotland. However, this does highlight some very marked differences in micro generation north and south of the border.

    The AEA Microgeneration Index provides analysis of the UK microgeneration sector’s and establishes how well Government incentives are working.

    It covers the technologies included in the UK Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme, introduced in April 2010. The FIT scheme, together with the forthcoming Renewable Heat Incentive, has a major role to play in helping the UK make a successful transition to a low carbon economy.

    The low carbon technologies supported by the FIT scheme include:

    Solar photovoltaics (PV).
    Anaerobic digestion (AD).
    Domestic-scale micro combined heat and power (CHP) (up to and including 2 kWe – pilot for first 30,000 schemes).

    AEA UK Microgeneration Index – Issue 4 (pdf)
    AEA Microgeneration Scot 11 (pdf)

    Link to AEA report webpage for further information


    The group set up to promote and encourage Bioenergy activity around the Highlands ‘Highland Woodfuels’ have just published their agenda for their conference to be held on the 26th and 27th September at Strathpeffer Spa Pavillion.

    The conference is entitled “Creating a Bio‑energy Economy in the Highlands” and is jointly hosted by the University of the Highlands and Islands and Highland Birchwoods.

    This event will demonstrate the potential of renewable decentralised bio-energy as a business model for rural communities.  Delegates will learn about the social and economic aspects of decentralised bioenergy generation. They will gain an understanding of all elements needed to create a viable bio-energy supply chain.
    The networking aspect of the event will ensure that participants will have access to all sectors of bio-energy supply chains, including economic and business advice.
    For further information and to book a place please visit the conference website.

    If you have any further questions please call or email :
    Darren Robbins at Highland Birchwoods
    Tel 01463 811606 email
    Mike Weston at
    The University of the Highlands and Islands
    Tel 01463 279263 email

    The deadline for registering is the 20th September, and I am delighted to say that there are now limited places available – registration is via the above website.

    View the conference flyer here (pdf)

    View the conference Programme here (pdf)