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UK AD industry calls for game-changing research centre at ADBA R&I Forum

The UK anaerobic digestion (AD) industry laid out plans for a Centre for Anaerobic Biotechnology and Bioresources Research to establish the UK as a global leader in the £1 trillion global biogas industry at the 7th annual Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) Research & Innovation (R&I) Forum 2017, held on 28-29 March.

ADBA says the proposed Centre would act as a hub of global excellence and seek to transform AD into a low-cost, multi-functional biotechnology by bringing together and coordinating the research input of often disparate research groups. This would ensure an interdisciplinary approach to AD research needed to rapidly achieve the full potential of anaerobic biotechnology. With investment in new areas of research, estimates show that biogas could produce up to 60% of current coal generation, reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by 18-20%.

The R&I Forum, which will take place 28-29 March at the Building Centre, London, is well established as the only dedicated research and innovation forum focusing solely on the AD and biogas industry, which is now worth over £500 million in the UK alone. The Forum is specifically designed to keep AD professionals up to date with the latest research and innovation in the sector and give them the space to share solutions to improve and optimise the AD process and its applications across the industry. The event will feature talks from over 25 of the brightest minds in academia and industry.

The Forum will cover crucial challenges such as:

• Learning from nature to increase biogas yields by 30%
• The use of trace elements in output variability reduction
• The impact Brexit will have on research funding
• How to add gases to distribution networks without costly pre-processing
• The role that AD can play in sustainable agriculture
• How AD can support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and become a leading source of energy

“Power from AD could be competitive with coal and provide more energy than nuclear does today, but is currently only delivering a fraction of this potential,” says Dr Mike Mason, Research Fellow at the University of Oxford and Chairman at Tropical Power Ltd, who generate clean energy from biomass and solar power in Africa. Mike will be chairing a session at the Forum entitled ‘Transforming the scale and speed of biogas/AD advancement’.

Mike continued: “Further investment via targeted, collaborative research would enable a step change in the cost of AD, allowing anaerobic biotechnology to deliver at a massively greater scale than at present. The ADBA R&I Forum will be a great chance to share expertise and further explore these opportunities.”

ADBA Chief Executive Charlotte Morton said: “The UK has world-class expertise in AD and already exports over £100m worth of expertise and equipment per year. A Centre for Anaerobic Biotechnology and Bioresources Research has the potential to create export opportunities estimated at £5bn and 60,000 jobs whilst contributing to the UK’s energy security and helping achieve the UN SDGs.

“The ADBA R&I Forum will seek to address some of the biggest issues facing the future of our industry – we’d encourage all AD professionals to attend to be a part of these cutting-edge discussions and share the latest technologies and innovations in the marketplace.”

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