Bio and ETP

ETP universities are working with industry to contribute to the development of the Bioenergy industry in Scotland to reduce CO2 emissions, add to the carbon sequestration potential, enhance rural economies and help meet renewable energy targets.

Biomass production systems

Sustainable production of biomass for bioenergy is essential to meet the low carbon agenda. ETP scientists are working on agronomy of short rotation coppice, and a range of oil seed crops suitable to grow in Scotland. Micro and macro algal crops are also being investigated. A key barrier to the biological processing of lignocellulosic crops for liquid fuels is being studied and biochemical and genetic solutions are being sought. Land use, life cycle analysis and carbon modelling are all being investigated to ensure the development and deployment of sustainable systems.

Supply Chain

Harvesting, transport, storage and pre-processing of biomass are key elements in the supply chain which are being studied by ETP engineers.

Thermochemical Conversion

There is a range of thermochemical process that can use biomass as a source of fuel. Biomass can be combusted, gasified or pyrolysed to produce heat, electricity, transport fuels and even hydrogen. Key issues being addressed by ETP scientists are fuel characterization, characterization of emissions, catalytic processes to convert syngas from gasification into Fischer-Tropsch hydrocarbons.

Physical-Chemical Conversion

Bio diesel can be produced from crops rich in lipids such as oil seed rape or algae, or animal fats via physical extraction of the oil and then transesterification. Key issues being addressed are fuel characterization, processing the co-products and engine testing.

Biological Conversion

Anaerobic digestion can be utilised to breakdown organic materials such as vegetable processing co-products, seaweeds or domestic wastes in a controlled process to produce methane. The methane can be burnt directly to give heat, upgraded and injected into the gas grid or converted to hydrogen via steam reforming. All aspects are being investigated by ETP universities.

Fermentation of sugar or starch rich biomass, either from crops or co-products from the biomass processing industries can be used to produce ethanol or butanol, depending on the type of microorganisms used.

Microbial fuel cells

These are devices which utilize the catalytic reaction of microbes to convert chemical energy to electrical energy, i.e. the direct conversion of organic matter to electricity using bacteria. These have a range of potential applications including clean-up of contaminated water.


The scientists and engineers within ETP embrace many different disciplines to further their research and development of Bioenergy technologies:

  • Terrestrial and marine biomass production systems
  • Plant breeding
  • Chemical and materials characterisation Resource economics and land use studies Carbon and lifecycle analysis Technoeconomic analysis
  • Biochemical processing Bioengineering Thermochemical processing Catalysis
  • System design
  • Process engineering

Knowledge Exchange Network (KEN)

KEN offers Scottish SMEs access to resources including project funding to work with Scottish universities on low-carbon innovation projects.

Check your eligibility

Bioenergy Facilities

Facilities of particular relevance to bioenergy are:

Facility Name Member
Scottish Energy Centre Edinburgh Napier University
Energy Technology Test Facilities University of Strathclyde
Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Test Facilities
Mechanical Test Facility - component and subsystem testing
Energy Technology Centre
Thermal Engineering Test Facility TUV NEL
Large Scale Component Testing for Wind, Marine, Oil & Gas Structures Doosan Babcock Limited
Carbon Capture Test Facility National Hyperbaric Centre
SAMS Research Services Ltd. (SRSL)- development of acoustic mapping systems The Scottish Association of marine Science (SAMS)

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