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Genomics Forum · Events

A green future for bioenergy?

Edinburgh International Science Festival   03.04.2008






Professor David Ingram, Honorary Professor and Advisor on Public Understanding of Science (University of Edinburgh)Professor Christine Raines, Professor of Plant Biology (University of Essex)Dr Jeremy Woods, Lecturer in Bioenergy (Imperial College London)

Organised by

Innogen and the Genomics Forum


National Museum of Scotland - Lecture Theatre

Event details

In the context of climate change and the push to develop alternative, ‘green’ sources of renewable energy, bioenergy is often held up as an attractive option. It is promoted as a carbon-neutral source of energy with several possible uses, including heat, electricity and transport fuel. Internationally, a number of governments have set targets for bioenergy use, new production facilities are springing up around the world, and research money is being spent on developing new and more efficient technologies for bioenergy production.

But it is becoming increasingly clear that a number of other, and sometimes unexpected, factors are closely linked to bioenergy development — including food prices, biodiversity, land and water use, the rural economy, trade patterns, and so on. What are some of the pros and cons of bioenergy development? What role should bioenergy have in our future energy mix? These are questions worthy of public discussion and debate.

This event will provide an opportunity to hear about and discuss the possible merits and disadvantages of bioenergy as it relates to these wider questions. Two distinguished international experts will set the context for bioenergy development, and outline what they see as some of the key issues and trade-offs involved. Come and listen to their opinions on the following questions:

  • What are realistic and appropriate targets for bioenergy development, in the UK and globally? Will bioenergy be economically viable without government subsidies?
  • Is bioenergy more effective, and with less biodiversity impact, than other approaches currently being considered/promoted?
  • Can modern technology be used to develop bioenergy sources that are more efficient and more sustainable than past approaches to biological, renewable energies?

You will have a chance to put your questions to the experts, and to vote on what you think the future for bioenergy should be.

Further details