Future Fuels for Flights and Freight: £22million available!

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Published on: April 28, 2017

The use of plants as biofuels has great potential for mitigating the effects of future fossil fuel use. However this use cannot be performed at any cost and to date making the process cost-effective has been challenging.

The development of second generation biofuels, such as switchgrass or coppice willow, has arguably shown the greatest potential for production of biofuels yet over recent years. However it is clear that exploration of novel germplasm in isolation is not the only solution to this challenging problem.

The BBSRC funded Lignocellulosic Biorefinery Network (LBNet) has began to bring together plant scientists with microbiologists and industrial planners in order to develop an overall approach to dealing with plant biomass for biofuel production. This leads from growing plants, harvesting, transport of biomass, degradation and saccharification, maximising the extraction of various fractions and distribution of final products into existing and novel pipelines. Last year GARNet reported from the inaugural meeting of the LBNet network.

Along these lines, on April 27th the Department of Transport together with Ricardo launched the ‘Future Fuels for Flights and Freight Competition (F4C)‘ that encourage applications that promote the development of the advanced low carbon fuels industry within the UK, including supplier capabilities and skills in relevant technologies, while maximising value for money for the taxpayer.

The key objectives of this competition are:

  • To increase domestic production of advanced low carbon fuels capable of tackling emissions from the hard-to-decarbonise aviation and HGV sectors in pursuit of long-term UK decarbonisation targets.
  • To stimulate investment and create jobs through the development of a prosperous domestic industry.

Although plant scientists might sit at the very start of this process it might be worth planning an application given the funding available……F4C will provide up to £20 million in capital grant funding over 3 years (2018-21) for major demonstration projects providing transformative and innovative solutions.

The F4C will also provide up to £2 million of Project Development Funding in 2017-18 to support the development of proposals. The F4C will  operate in two stages; Stage One (Project Development) and Stage Two (Capital Funding). Further details are be found here.

Stage One is open to applications between 27 April and 30 June 2017. The funding pipeline is below:

More information and FAQ can be found here:



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