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Biomass and Biofuels

The RSPB's innovative Biomass Project has investigated new products from conservation work at sites across the Humberhead Levels. In two years is has developed the potential for the UK's first reed based briquette that could be used on wood burning stoves near year in the future!

This NIA project has worked over the last two years to bring about innovative ways of helping fund conservation work in the Humberhead Levels. Using waste from our activites such as wood and reed, The project officer Mark Cleaver based at the RSPB, has examined the feasibility of taking products to market.

The project has just produced its final report, available below. and its key findings have been:

  • It is technically possible to produce a viable biofuel briquette from reed cut as part of the conservation management regime of reed beds and that this technical possibility may also be a financially and environmentally sustainable model for the management of this habitat.
  • There remains a gap in knowledge of lifecycle assessment of the habitat management processes required for a proper assessment of the potential environmental net gains that may be possible through the production of a conservation biomass based biofuel.
  • There is a need for more detailed resource mapping of potentially suitable biomass resources that could be available for use in renewable energy There is a unique opportunity to redirect wood waste from the restoration of the Humberhead Peatlands NNR into the renewable energy supply chains
  • There are innovative developments across the UK showing how new approaches to woodland management can deliver habitat management, local wood fuel and social engagement in woodlands. These approaches should be considered for adoption in the Humberhead Levels as models of delivering multiple ecosystem services.
  • Within the Humberhead Levels, there are opportunities for developing new woodland and scrub mosaics to deliver multiple benefits: improved ecological networks with particular benefit for Willow tits; reductions in diffuse pollution; reductions in flooding; and potential future wood fuel and social engagement (see point above). However, these developments are constrained by current land use and values
  • There are an increasing number of projects both in the UK and abroad that are investigating how managing land for nature conservation can also deliver for renewable energy.
  • There is an opportunity to reduce duplication of effort (and costs) and increase impact by carrying out a review of ongoing work and setting up a knowledge bank and signposting service.


FilenameFile size
NIA Biomass Report Part 1 Background and research1.49 MB
NIA Biomass Report Part 1 Appendix 1 Leeds University644.92 KB
NIA Biomass Report Part 2 Product Development521.4 KB
NIA Biomass Report Part 3Market Strategy335.61 KB
NIA Biomass Report Part 4 Woodland and Scrub market appraisal2.85 MB
NIA Biomass Report Part 5 Woodland Mapping Final1.5 MB
NIA Biomass Report Part 6 National Advisor Group300.55 KB