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Energy from Biomass

Energy from Biomass Cluster Description.  EfB Current Research Projects

This Cluster covers new approaches for all aspects of:

  • Production.
  • Processing and conversion.
  • Sustainability issues.
    of biomass feed stocks for production of energy and related value-added products.

Targeted research topics include:


  • Current and potential future feed stocks (both wet and dry, including availability and competition issues and encompassing land and aqueous-based production).
  • Agronomy.
  • Pathogens and disease management.
  • Nutrient management and control.
  • Harvesting.
  • Drying and preparation and optimisation (technical and economic).
  • Storage and handling.
  • Transport (distance issues).
  • Process efficiency.

Processing and Conversion:

  • Wet and dry feedstocks.
  • Pretreatment – drying, crushing, pelletising, hydrolysis (such as thermal, chemical, biological, enzymatic) etc.
  • Mechanical delivery into processes.
  • Conversion to energy.
    • Industrial vs domestic.
    • Electricity, gas, heat, fuel.
    • Various conversion processes (biological, thermal, pyrolysis, gasification), energy ‘carriers’ (liquid fuels, hydrogen, biogas & biomethane, syngas, , end use and products (fuels, fuel cell use, biochar).
  • Biogas - low cost gas clean-up and management; for engines and/or upgrading (vehicle fuel, for fuel cell use or grid injection), methane to DME (dimethylether).
  • Emissions, odours, NOX, SOX, and Carbon Dioxide.
  • Efficiency of conversion.


  • Wastes and by-products.
  • Water use.
  • Economics and LCA.
  • Carbon values (per hectare – carbon accounting).
  • Energy density of feedstocks.
  • Fuel choice – sustainability, costs, competition for feedstocks etc.
  • Efficiency of conversion.
  • Increase security & supply.
  • Self-sustaining communities / model communities.
  • Combinations of technologies.
  • Recognition of ‘not just one solution’.
  • Localisation of heat and use of process heat.
  • Technology size.
  • Impact of land use changes.

Cross-cutting themes with other Clusters:

  • Non-technical barriers.
  • Technology readiness.
  • Energy efficiency and use of process heat.
  • Education.
  • (next generation workforce) interest in STEM subjects.
  • Public perception of technology and acceptance.
  • Policy and planning.
  • Opportunity – ensuring timeliness of communication and embedding in policy.
  • Reduction of energy costs.
  • Novelty and potential of technology.
  • Anaerobic wastewater treatment.
  • Distribution of energy and grid connection.

Contact Information

The Questor Centre
David Keir Building
Stranmillis Road
Belfast BT9 5AG

Tel +4428 9097 5577
Fax +4428 9066 1462


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