Farming seaweed and growing algae from the by-products of whisky manufacturing are among 24 projects today (August 25) that were awarded £4 million in government funding to boost biomass production.

The 24 innovative projects, from start-ups and family-run businesses to research institutes and universities, will receive funding of up to £200,000 from the government’s Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme to produce low-carbon energy using organic materials.

The projects will boost biomass productivity in the UK, through breeding, planting, cultivating and harvesting of organic energy materials.

Biomass refers to sustainably derived plant material that could be used as fuel to produce energy or to create products such as chemicals and bio-plastics.

It is a small but important part of the renewable energy mix that the UK requires to meet its commitment to eradicate its contribution to climate change by 2050 - and is also backed by the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change.

Biomass materials include non-food energy crops such as grasses and hemp, material from forestry operations and marine-based materials such as algae and seaweed.

Energy Minister Lord Callanan said:

Working to develop new and greener types of fuel like biomass is an important part of building the diverse and green energy mix that we will need to achieve our climate change targets.

"We are backing UK innovators to ensure we have a homegrown supply of biomass materials, which is part of our wider plans to continue driving down carbon emissions as we build back greener."