The European strategy for renewable energy sources identifies bioenergy as the most important renewable energy source for the future: a source of cleaner, more secure and sustainable power for Europe. Bioenergy is a highly diverse area: crops are converted to biofuels for transport; landfill sites are tapped for biogas to heat towns; and forestry residues are used to produce electricity. As national programmes fund 90% of bioenergy research in Europe, coordinating them will improve outcomes.
Driven by the potential benefits of bioenergy, and guided by the renewable energy targets, there are many national and regional bioenergy research programmes running in Europe - spending EUR 220 million in 2001 alone. A major part of this investment comes from the ten Member states which form the ERA-NET Bioenergy network. A network of national government agencies and ministries responsible for coordinating and funding national research efforts into bioenergy. The goal of this network is to strengthen national bioenergy research programmes through enhancing cooperation and coordination between national agencies. Through collaboration, the individual national programmes will produce higher quality results, while through coordination, they will seek to complement each other, avoiding duplication.
To reach these goals the network is pursuing four lines of activity:
- Establishing structures for the systematic exchange of information
- Identifying common strategic issues to form a basis for integrated programmes and projects
- Undertaking joint activities such as common programme monitoring
- Implementing joint research activities
ERA-NET Bioenergy has been running for six years (2004-2010) funded by the FP6 programme. Authorities from ten countries have been participating in ERA-NET Bioenergy. From 2011 eight countries decided to continue the network and the important work on bioenergy research without EC funding. Ireland is part of the ERA-NET bioenergy network represented by Biomass Programme Manager of SEAI.
For more information go to the Era-Net Bioenergy website.