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Biofuels: Research

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the value was of grants made by his Department for research into biofuels since 1 January 2006; and to which organisations they were given. (204990)

DEFRA’s bio-energy R and D focuses on the genetic improvement and selection of biomass crops such as willow and miscanthus. Current spend is about £900,000 per year, which provides underpinning R and D for both second generation biofuels and solid biomass for energy. Other relevant work is being funded jointly with industry to breed wheat and oilseed rape varieties that require reduced fertiliser inputs (£331,000 in 2008-09 and approximately £814,000 in 2006-07 and 2007-08 combined).

It is difficult to separate out the work exclusively on biofuels, but a specific project was funded in 2007 to assess ‘Greenhouse gas emissions and environmental sustainability of international biofuels production and use’ (£37,000).

Organisations funded by DEFRA since 2006 are Aberystwyth university (IBERS), Rothamsted Research, AEA Technology, the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), Warwick HRI and ADAS.

DEFRA, through the International Sustainable Development Fund, are also funding two (desk) studies into Brazilian biofuels and their sustainability. One is by the university of Campinas, into bioethanol, and the other is by the university of Sao Paulo, into biodiesel. They are around £50,000 each.