Biomass and Bioenergy: a vital component of the UK’s green economy?

Professor Patricia Thornley

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Professor Patricia Thornley, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, Birmingham

Bioenergy is arguably the oldest form of energy provision known to man and yet, in recent years it has also become one of the most controversial and contested forms of energy provision. Doubts have been cast on the ability of bioenergy systems to actually deliver real carbon reductions and concerns raised about wider impacts, including land-use and food-fuel tensions.

In this seminar Patricia Thornley will introduce the current status of UK bioenergy, discussing the available feedstocks, conversion technologies and relevant demand sectors. She will evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different bioenergy systems over their life-cycle and compare those to plausible alternatives.

These insights will be used to explore a potential vision for the future of UK bioenergy and what research and innovation needs must be addressed to make that vision a reality.


Professor Patricia Thornley is Director of the EBRI, Aston University, Birmingham.  She works in assessing the environmental, economic, and social impacts of renewable energy technologies, particularly bioenergy systems. She has experience of working in the commercial sector in power generation as well as in academia. She uses tools such as process modelling, life cycle assessment, and techno-economic evaluation to evaluate the sustainability of new technologies and systems.  She leads the national EPSRC and BBSRC funded SUPERGEN Bioenergy hub (, which brings together academia, industry, and policy stakeholders to focus on sustainable bioenergy solutions.

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