Where now for Biomass?

23 September 2014

5.30pm to 9pm

Hosted by

 25 Moorgate, London, EC2R 6AY

This event is also kindly being sponsored by Finning UK.



The closure of RWE’s Tilbury biomass trial last summer, the recent legal challenge of DECC by Drax over its eligibility for a contract for difference, and the fact that Eggborough was unsuccessful in securing early support from the new contract for difference mechanism highlights that there are some choppy waters for biomass at the utility level. Assuming these plants progress, and along with other developing and existing capacity, it is estimated that operating power stations would consume about 19m tonnes of pellets per annum, most of which will be imported.

In contrast to utility-sized facilities, which are designed to decarbonise the base load section of the electricity system, more localised biomass plant have the greater chance of utilising local sources of fuel and running more efficiently through operating CHP. Industrial and agricultural site-specific plant where there is a steady heat requirement and local district heating schemes provide the necessary economics, including credit-worthy off-takers and scale, for biomass CHP to be effective.

However, should biomass be used for electricity generation at all? Given the many different ways to generate electricity, should biomass be used solely to produce fuel for transport or for AD? Does importing biomass from overseas provide any greater energy security than importing coal, oil or gas? Is burning biomass, with its associated particulates and carbon emissions, any cleaner than burning fossil fuels which typically have a higher calorific value?

This event will look at what has been happening in the biomass subsector, the new plant that is now on stream, what proposed plant has planning consent and what is in the pipeline. We will be looking at the whole regulatory climate for biomass and see where DECC is placing its emphasis. There will therefore be highlighted what type of plant will have the most support and easiest ride through planning and what the biomass subsector is likely to look like over the next 3-5 years and beyond

This event will be ideal for developers, consultants, advisers, investors and financiers, those in the biomass supply chain, technology developers, generators, electricity market participants, media and other sector followers.


5.30pm Registration

6.00pm Welcome – Roland Brook, Smith & Williamson

6.10pm Introduction – Clive Hall, Rushlight Events

6.15pm Biomass Power: the current picture – David Turley, Lead Consultant in Bio-based feedstocks, NNFCC.  His presentation is HERE

6.40pm The regulator’s perspective – Liz McDonnell, Bioenergy Policy Manager DECC.  Her presentation is HERE.

7.00pm The industry perspective – David Williams, CEO ECO2.  His presentation is HERE

7.30pm Panel, augmented by

Amit Rama, VP Transaction Team, Green Investment Bank

Ian Hargraves, Director SES Ltd

8.00pm Networking

9.00pm Close

The recording of the talks can be found HERE


Finning (UK) Ltd

Finning UK & Ireland is part of Finning International Inc., one of the world’s largest distributors of Caterpillar® plant, complementary equipment and power systems.

Our power generation division has a proven track record in delivering the power solutions required by a diverse range of markets and applications including:

• Fuel–efficient technology for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) solutions

• Renewable power solutions converting waste to energy

• Diesel and gas generators for standby, prime and continuous applications

• Uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems for critical applications

With trained, local specialists throughout the UK and Ireland, our full service includes feasibility studies, detailed design, project management, installation, commissioning, ongoing operation, maintenance and finance capabilities.

We can deliver total project solutions, providing MEICA (Mechanical, Electrical, Instrumentation, Control and Automation), civil works and design / engineering services into a wide variety of power markets – with a focus on clean, renewable energy technologies and specialist control.


Rushlight BioBriefings will cover the full range of subjects that make up the cleantech and sustainable topics in the bioeconomy, including biomass, biofuels, biogas and other bioenergy subsets, anaerobic digestion, composting, biorefining, bioingredients and biomaterials.

Who should attend


Each delegate place costs £35 plus VAT, a total of £42. To register click HERE

There is a small service fee levied by the registration and payment system that we use.  If you are having any problems with this system (please make sure that your email address and the email address associated with the credit card you are using tally, otherwise the system will assume the transaction is fraudulent and refuse it) or you wish to avoid the service fee, then please email cjh@eventuremedia.co.uk your details and we will invoice you directly.


David Turley – NNFCC

David ensures that NNFCC makes an important and valued contribution to development of policy affecting the bio-based economy and that appropriate evidence is generated in support of this aim. He provides the formal liaison link between NNFCC and the UK Government. He also oversees the delivery of NNFCC’s portfolio of research projects for both Government and commercial clients. He has had a long career in agricultural and non-food crop research, focussing on sustainable land management and the development of food and non-food crops for industrial uses.

Elizabeth McDonnell – Head of Bioenergy Policy, DECC

Since joining the Department for the Environment in 1990, she has had a varied and interesting career; working on water pollution, industrial pollution control, improving the sustainability of freight transport and spent some time seconded to the European Commission.  From 2000, Liz worked on energy efficiency: co-authoring the Energy Efficiency Innovation Review of November 2005, organising the first International Conference on Energy Efficiency, in November 2006, and then worked on the UK Government’s Energy White Paper, 2007.

Since summer 2008, Liz has been focusing on the promotion of bioenergy and in particular, policies to deliver sustainable biomass, looking at the strategic role of bioenergy in delivering our 2020 renewable energy targets and setting the financial support levels for biomass under the UK’s Renewables Obligation. She and her team are currently working on delivering the recommendations of the Government’s 2012 Bioenergy Strategy and on support for bioenergy under Electricity Market Reform, including revised sustainability standards for biomass.

Amit Rama – Green Investment Bank

Amit is a qualified chartered accountant with 13 years of experience as a corporate finance advisor. He has advised numerous multinationals and international investors in the natural resources and utilities sectors. Over the last 7 years, he has specialised on the renewable energy sector. Currently, as a Vice President in the UK Green Investment Bank’s Waste and Bioenergy team, he has been involved in a number of transactions in the biomass sector. He has held positions in M&A advisory at Nomura International, Argent Partners and in financial advisory with Deloitte.

David Williams – Eco2

Dr David Williams is Chief Executive of Eco2 Ltd.  David has been involved in renewable energy for over 20 years, having started his career with UK utility company SWALEC.  David set up Energy Power Resources (EPR) in 1996 and later co-founded Eco2 in 2002 where, in 2011, he led the sale of Eco2’s 40MW straw-powered biomass plant in Sleaford, Lincolnshire in a landmark £170m deal and more recently the sale of Eco2’s second straw-powered biomass plant in Brigg, North Lincolnshire in a £160m deal.  The Brigg deal is unique as it is the first direct investment by a Pension Fund into a UK infrastructure project.  David was previously an Independent Grant Assessor for the DTI, a member of the UK Government’s Renewables Advisory Board and has also been a member of the DEFRA Biomass Implementation Advisory Group.  David currently Chairs the Welsh Government’s Energy & Environment Advisory Panel and the UK’s Renewable Energy Association Biomass Power Group.  In 2013 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of his outstanding contribution to renewable energy by the University of South Wales.

Ian Hargraves – Sustainable Energy Systems Ltd

Ian joined Grontmij in 2012 as Technical Director of their growing Waste to Energy team. His focus was delivering Grontmij’s ‘WtE – A Whole Life Approach’ strategy for resource recovery and high efficiency energy production from various solid waste streams. Since leaving Grontmij in June, Ian has been technical consultant to several Advanced Thermal Treatment CHP schemes that will be maximizing the energy potential of MSW and SRF merchant waste streams. He is also currently project managing a 10MWe advanced biomass CHP scheme.  He is a Chartered Waste Manager and a founder member of the CIWM Biowaste Special Interest Group as well as a founder member of the BioCompost Alliance. He has a background in energy generation including coal, oil, gas and nuclear from 20MW to 2000MW. On leaving the nuclear industry in 1989 Ian joined the environmental sector working on in-vessel composting systems and MBT plants around the world. In 2008, utilising his experience of waste and power systems, he developed and successfully demonstrated an advanced pyrolysis system with CHP running on composted MSW.  He has a special interest in sustainable, community scale, resource recovery and advanced high efficiency WtE projects, as well as astronomy when time permits.