The largest-ever investment in bioenergy research has been announced in a bid to help the UK meet its biofuel targets.
The £27m biofuels centre, funded by public money, will look at ways to sustainably produce fuel crops.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) said it was vital more work was done to improve efficiencies in the UK’s emerging biofuels sector.
The BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre will incorporate six research hubs, including experts from science and industry, to look at ways of using fuel crops and waste from food crops to produce fuel.
Dr Angela Karp of Rothamstead Research said the centre will look to find ways to produce fuel that does not compete with food production.
“In the UK there are 3m ha of marginal land that are suitable for growing crops like miscanthus and willow,” she said.
“We probably wouldn’t even need all of that land to meet the government’s target of 5% biofuels by 2010.
“It’s difficult to say how far we can go, but with this research we could move closer and closer to self-sufficiency in terms of fuel production.”