Biomass Connect: Biomass Innovation and Information Platform & Distributed, Multi-Site Feedstocks Demonstrator

The Biomass Innovation and Information Platform, created by Biomass Connect and led by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, is a demonstration and knowledge sharing programme-of-work to showcase best practice and innovations in land-based biomass feedstock production.

Biomass Connect logo

What is biomass and what does this project Biomass Connect do?

Biomass crops are typically herbaceous or woody plants with very high growth rates, limited requirements for nutrient input or heavily managed cultivation, with a high potential energy content or calorific value.

This Biomass Connect project has planted eight demonstration sites of biomass agriculture located across the UK, in Ceredigion, South Ayrshire, Buckinghamshire, Devon, Edinburgh, County Down, Tyne & Wear and Yorkshire. We publish useful information, produce independent evidence and host practical demonstrations of ways to grow and harvest these crops.

Recent Biomass Connect project activity

  • Constant development and expansion of a comprehensive Biomass Connect website and set of online resources & downloadable material
  • All sorts of social media steams and online events
  • Demonstration and discussion events that showcase biomass feedstocks
  • Ongoing series of webinars with expert guest speakers (all available on YouTube)
  • The planting of eight field 'Hub sites' with the same selection of biomass crops for comparisons of establishment and growth between different areas of the UK
  • Each field site has several hectares with each plant species or variant planted to a common methodology and management
  • Soil and environmental samples and ongoing monitoring help to provide the scientific basis for later yield analysis
SRF Eucalyptus just planted in a large field

Four primary aims

Independent Information

Variations and Efficacy


Robust Evidence

Independent information: To provide robust, independent information on biomass feedstock performance, agronomy, economics and environmental benefits to landowners and land managers.

Variations and efficacy: To de-risk new crop adoption by ensuring that geographic variations in the efficacy of biomass feedstocks and relevant innovations are fully evaluated and demonstrated to a broad range of stakeholders across the UK.

Knowledge: To facilitate discussion and learning regarding the biomass sector by enabling the sharing of knowledge, experiences and case studies.

Robust evidence: To contribute to agricultural, environmental and bioenergy policy development by contributing robust evidence and facilitating interactions between policy, academia and industry.

Biomass crops & perennial energy crops (PECS)

Biomass crops, sometimes referred to as energy crops, are non-food plants cultivated for the purposes of energy production. They are typically herbaceous or woody plants with very high growth rates, limited requirements for nutrient input or heavily managed cultivation, and which possess a high potential energy content or calorific value.

Plants that possess these characteristics can be used to produce heat, electricity, and transport fuels at low rates of overall net carbon emission, and even carbon neutrality in the right circumstances.

How we can help provide information

Best practice and innovations in biomass cultivation are showcased through in-person demonstration events at the Biomass Connect field sites. These activities spread knowledge gained among farmers and growers considering planting biomass crops, as well as with government advisers, trade bodies, businesses and biomass end users.

The project provides independent information on biomass feedstock performance, agronomy, economics and environmental benefits to landowners and land managers. With a better understanding of geographic variations in the production of biomass plants and also relevant technical innovations in production methods, the project will encourage new crop production and encourage discussion and learning about the biomass sector.


This sharing of knowledge, experiences and case studies is making a significant contribution to agricultural, environmental and bioenergy policy development, practical on-farm development and overall growth in the UK’s biomass sector.

Who we are and why we are doing what we do

Biomass Connect is part of the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation (BFI) Programme; a £36 million programme funded through the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

This portfolio of work is accelerating the commercialisation of clean energy technologies and processes through the 2020s and 2030s. Land based greenhouse-gas removal is a key part of achieving net zero by 2050 for the UK. Bioenergy combined with carbon capture and storage technology is identified as an essential component of delivering this target and will require a large and rapid scaling up of domestic biomass production. The BFI Programme aims specifically to increase the production of renewable and sustainable UK biomass feedstocks.

Biomass Connect reduces the barriers to innovation and scaling up of biomass production by providing an independent platform to showcase best-practice agronomy and innovations. The benefits to the UK would accrue through an increased international reputation and faster more robust biomass innovations coming to market. 

UKCEH and partners

Biomass Connect is led by project professionals and researchers at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Project partners include the Agri Food Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Bio Global Industries (BGI), IBERS at Aberystwyth University, NIAB, Newcastle University, Rothamsted Research & Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). Biomass Connect is also supported by an Advisory Board consisting of individuals from the Supergen Bioenergy Hub, the National Farmers Union, Drax, Defra, the Irish Bioenergy Association, Evolving Forests and AMP Clean Energy.

Project Lead
REA award logo

British Renewable Energy Award

June 2023: We're pleased to accept the 2023 Pioneer Award from the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA). This year’s Awards will mark the 18th edition since they began in 2006 to recognise the work of those driving change in the industry.