The second phase of the UK government’s Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme has awarded a project, to facilitate further planting of the perennial bioenergy crop Miscanthus, with £3.3 million worth of funding.
Terravesta, the Miscanthus specialist, was successful in its bid to secure Phase 2 funding for its OMENZ project – a four-focus project which stands for ‘Optimising Miscanthus Establishment through improved mechanisation and data capture to meet Net Zero targets’.
OMENZ will deliver improvements on the entire Miscanthus establishment process, including approaches to producing planting material, field preparation, innovative agri-tech, new planting techniques, and cutting-edge technologies to monitor establishment in the field.
“The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is funding projects like ours through NZIP,” said Terravesta’s science and technology director Dr Michael Squance. “And it’s our aim to increase the scale and quality of Miscanthus establishment in the UK.”
“The first dedicated, peer reviewed study into Miscanthus life cycles shows that the above ground biomass grows annually and recycles all the carbon that’s been produced through planting, harvesting, and burning the crop for renewable electricity, and at the same time, the underground rhizome and decaying leaf litter fixes and stores net 0.64 tonnes of carbon (2.35 tonnes CO2e) per hectare, each year as it grows,” Dr Squance continued.
Terravesta was one of 12 other projects awarded the funding in Phase 2, and partners in OMENZ include CHAP, Cranfield University, Energene Seeds Ltd, Liverpool John Moores University, TJSS Ltd, University of Lincoln, Ystumtec Ltd.
Long-term partner of Terravesta, Aberystwyth University, has also been successful in getting funding for its breeding programme.