This project is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the BBSRC under grant BB/V011553/1 as part of an investment of £30 million over four-and-a-half years forming part of the second wave of the Government’s Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), which invests in high quality multi and interdisciplinary research and is the largest programme to assess greenhouse gas removal methods funded by the UK government, through UKRI, to date.

Julie Ingram and Jane Mills lead the CCRI’s contribution to this project, which is led by Aberystwyth University and also involves the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the University of Aberdeen and Rothamstead Research as well as key energy crop growers.

Miscanthus Harvest, Leicestershire © John Powell

The project will be demonstrating the latest technologies for planting willow and Miscanthus, the two perennial biomass crops that are best suited to UK conditions. Both crops grow well on land that is less suited to food production, and can be harvested every one to three years. Since they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, they are regarded as a renewable and low carbon source of electricity. The research also involves new field trials at Bishop Burton College, Lincolnshire and Myerscough College, Lancashire. The CCRI researchers will be looking specifically at the socio-economic barriers and incentives for increasing biomass crop production in relation to growers/farmers and the wider community.

Greenhouse Gas Removal describes a range of technologies to directly remove CO2 from the atmosphere, that aim to counteract human-caused climate change by deliberate large-scale intervention.

Miscanthus field and Flux Tower © Judith Thornton

The results will be used to shape longer-term government decision-making on the most effective technologies to help tackle climate change and reduce CO2 emissions in order to meet net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The project is 54-months in duration and starts May 2021.

Information on the Greenhouse Gas Removal research programme can be found here: http://www.ggrprogramme.org.uk/

The announcement of this project has been covered by BBC news https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-57227180