Posted 8 May 2012
Harper Adams University College has secured another £100,000 to fund two new research projects.
The first will look at a new technique, known as pyrolysis, that creates fuel from farm, food and local authority green waste. This method produces a gas, which is then burnt to generate electricity, a liquid fuel and waste water.
Research at Harper Adams will look at extracting further benefits from the waste water.
Professor Peter Kettlewell, Research Coordinator, said: “Pyrolysis is an alternative to incineration and landfill, and makes use of what would otherwise be a waste product.
“We hope to refine this process so that it can become a practical method that can be widely used to dispose of waste and create electricity and fuel.”
The project is worth more than £70,000 and is sponsored by INTERREG, a programme that encourages European partnerships. Harper Adams Estates Manager Paul Moran will be working with partners from Holland and Germany, as well as the project leader at Aston University
The second research project, sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Crop Improvement Research Club (CIRC), will investigate how to make better use of expensive fertilisers.
Fertilisers need beneficial bugs that live in soil to help them be taken in better by plant roots. By selecting the crop varieties that are better at producing the food for these bugs to grow, researchers can in turn help the plants to grow better.
Professor Kettlewell added: “This project is all about growing varieties that are better at producing food for beneficial bugs.
“If we can do this, it means farmers won’t need to use as much fertiliser because the plants will be more efficient.”
£20,000 has been invested in this research and Harper Adams researcher, Professor David Pink, will be working on the project alongside Dr Gary Bending from Warwick University.