Public lecture: Is bioenergy a sustainable resource?

  • Professor Patricia Thornley explores whether bioenergy is a sustainable resource

Is bioenergy a sustainable resource or environmental threat?  This is the question Professor Patricia Thornley will seek to address in her inaugural lecture on Tuesday 15 January.

Using practical examples from her research, which focuses on the environmental, social and economic impacts of bioenergy systems in the UK and overseas, Professor Thornley will explore how these elements can be practically managed to deliver sustainable bioenergy systems.

As Professor Thornley explains: “Bioenery is eternally fascinating because it combines so many different things: growing plants with all the associated environmental and social interactions around land; developing high-tech conversion technologies and working out where and how in the energy system you can best use this multi-talented resource, which can provide electricity, heat, transport fuel or materials.

“Biomass comes in all shapes and forms: from oilseed rape in European through North American forests, sugar cane in Brazil and rice straw in Asia – they all bring their own opportunities, potential benefits and challenges.”

Patricia will also consider what might be the most appropriate governance and policy frameworks to actually incentivise sustainable bioenergy systems.

Professor Thornley is the Director of the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University, having joined the University in September 2018 from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, at University of Manchester.

She is a chartered physicist with over 25-years’ experience working in bioenergy in industry and academia.

Patricia was involved with engineering implementation of many of the UKs early bioenergy plants, but has led the UKRI SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub since 2012.

This work brings together industry, academia and other stakeholders to focus on the research challenges associated with delivering sustainable bioenergy systems.

This year Professor Thornley chaired the advisory board for the Committee on Climate Change’s recently published bioenergy review.

The event will take place at 6pm on Tuesday 15 January in room G11 & G8 at Aston University. It is free for staff, students and members of the public to attend. 

Notes to the editor

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Aston University campus pictures

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive.

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