Farmers with innovative bioenergy projects could benefit from a new EU fund to develop the technology for future commercial development.
Bioenergy Sustaining the Future (BESTF) is a partnership between six EU countries and associated states that will fund collaborative projects between at least two partners from different participating countries. The scheme is open to existing businesses with an innovative bioenergy project, which could be commercialised within three years.
Dr Megan Cooper, project manager at the Department for Environment and Climate Change, suggested the main way farmers could participate might be as end users or providers of the project site.
A funding pot of £10m is available for UK projects, with no minimum or maximum set for individual grants, but projects will need to find at least 50% of the costs. UK applicants can apply for operational and capital costs, but funding for research and development, or pilots, may be considered.
Farmers would need to collaborate with academic institutions, other businesses or farmers in other participating member states – Denmark, Finland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Sweden or Switzerland. A group has been created on the online business networking site LinkedIn to enable people to develop partnerships for projects.
By creating demonstration projects, the aim is to remove the risk for private investors to then take the technology, design or product to commercial level.
The deadline for proposals is February 2014, but an initial briefing event is being held in London on Wednesday 11 December, which interested applicants need to attend. To book a place, contact Dr Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about the fund and eligibility, visit www.eranetbestf.net/two/ and to join the LinkedIn group visit www.linkedin.com and search ‘BESTF’ in ‘groups’.