Bioenergy: An engine for economic growth in the Global South?

Girl collecting wood fuel in Kenya

Girl collecting wood fuel in Kenya

The LCEDN organised a workshop on bioenergy in low income countries in collaboration with the SUPERGEN Bioenergy hub and the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences at the Wellcome Trust in London on the 28th January 2015.

NEW: Read the research prospectus on bioenergy in Southern Africa published by the Bioenergy SuperGEN Hub in March 2015 

The aim of the workshop was to connect different policy, private sector and academic communities with interests in bioenergy in the context of international development issues and, in particular, to link technical with social and international development expertise.  The event also provided an opportunity to discuss a DFID bioenergy research programme which is currently under development.

The event addressed a wide range of issues surrounding biomass use and bioenergy implementation in the Global South, including: the role of bioenergy in addressing key energy dilemmas (e.g. access, security, emissions), the sustainability of global biomass trade, and the place of Southern countries within global bioenergy supply chains.

The structure of the day was highly interactive involving both plenary sessions and lots of opportunity for discussion. Speakers and panelists included: Simon Batchelor (Gamos), Richard Blanchard (Loughborough University), Ed Brown (Loughborough University), Ben Campbell (Durham University), Annie Chimpinango (University of Stellenbosch), Rocio Diaz-Chavez (Imperial College), Craig Jamieson (International Rice Research Institute, Phillipines), John Loughhead (UK Energy Research Centre and Chief Scientific Adviser to DECC), Alison Mohr (University of Nottingham), Alessandro Moscuzza (Climate Change & Environment Adviser, Climate Energy & Water Team, DFID), Richard Murphy (Director, Centre for Environmental Strategy and Chair of Life Cycle Assesment), Colin Pritchard (University of Edinburgh), Mirjam Roeder (University of Manchester) and Patricia Thornley (Director of the SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub, University of Manchester).


Installation of an anaerobic digester

Installation of an anaerobic digester

Biogas collecting bag in Assam India

Biogas collecting bag in Assam India

Wood fuel in Kenya

Wood fuel in Kenya


9.30 Registration and tea/coffee

10.00 Session 1. Development, Bioenergy and Climate Change

– Bioenergy in current energy and development debates.

 – Technological developments and global bioenergy implementation.

11.20 Session 2.  Strategic Debates: Supply Chains, Economic Growth, Livelihoods and Emissions


Three concurrent sessions, on the topics below, to be followed by  a plenary discussion drawing together views from across the discussions and distilling key research questions.

-Land Use and Food-Fuel Interfaces: What are the land-use issues associated with different bioenergy systems and how can bioenergy best be integrated to provide food and energy security?

-Climate Change Interfaces: How do different bioenergy systems contribute to low carbon energy transitions and to climate change adaptation?

-Development Interfaces: Can bioenergy systems contribute to livelihoods enhancement in rural and urban settings?

12.50 Networking Lunch

 13.50 Session 3. Global drivers, local impacts: Bioenergy in Practice


A keynote presentation, followed by three concurrent discussion sessions on the topics listed below, and  a plenary discussion drawing together views from across the discussions and distilling key research questions.

Bioenergy from waste and residues: the challenges associated with sustainable use of waste resources (e.g. rice straw in rural areas, MSW in urban).

Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas: Social and Ecological Factors, e.g. nutrient balances, soil health, energy demand and distribution.

Health implications of bioenergy development: scales and siting of combustion units, impacts of clean cookstoves etc.


16.05 Plenary Discussion. Key Themes for Research and the Research/Policy Interface

-How can UK Bioenergy research contribute to GHG reduction and Low Carbon Transitions?

This will involve session leaders from the day’s earlier discussions, together with representatives from key organizations promoting research in this area including DFID, DECC and others.








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