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Gloucestershire Business News

Grants for Gloucestershire biomass firms

A Gloucestershire firm that turns wastewater from breweries and milk factories into fuel has been awarded a government grant.

Green Fuels Research Limited in Berkeley has received over £190,000 for a project that will allow microscopic algae to be produced for biomass used to produce fuel.

Two other Gloucestershire-based firms have also received grants. They are White Horse Energy Ltd in Cirencester and J George Limited, trading as Hej Harvester, in Staunton.

The grants are part of £4 million worth of funding for 24 projects across the UK from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's innovation programme.

Green Fuels' key innovation lies in cultivating microalgal strains in conditions adapted to the UK's weather by using two bioreactor systems, one taking advantage of natural sunlight during spring and summer and the second using organic compounds present in dairy and brewery wastewater as carbon sources in winter.

This will enable breweries and the dairy sector to dispose of zero-value, environmentally harmful waste streams while sustainably industrialising a high-value bioenergy resource, 'decarbonising' their production process.

Paul Hilditch, chief strategy officer at Green Fuels, said: "Importantly, the process doesn't use drinking-quality water or compete for land with food production." It is seen as a way to contribute towards the UK's target of achieving 'net-zero' carbon emissions by 2050.

Green Fuels is working with Wadworth & Co, an independent regional family brewer and pub company, operating in excess of 150 pubs and brewing beer in the market town of Devizes since 1875.

A spokesperson for the company said: "Now in the fifth generation of ownership by the Bartholomew family, Wadworth and Company Ltd. is excited to support Green Fuels in their research project.

"We see this research as potentially beneficial in the longer term with the hope an industrial application would potentially bring innovative and or alternative low-cost wastewater treatment solutions to smaller breweries whilst helping to combat climate change."

White Horse Energy of Cirencester meanwhile, is applying mobile pelletiser technology to energy crops in the UK, opening up a significant new source of pellets for the UK market.

Hej Harvester in Staunton aims to change the use of agricultural hedges and harvest them for feedstock production.

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