Taeda Tech Projects is an exciting collaborative demonstration project, developing a novel aeroponic technology that can rapidly grow superior energy crops to help the UK achieve net zero. Our consortium brings together leading academic and industry partners to produce a significant portion of the bioenergy feedstock which will help to replace fossil fuels.
After successfully graduating from the Phase 1 feasibility round, we are now 9 months into the collaborative demonstration phase. For the next three years our focus is to optimise our novel aeroponic technology for growing short rotation coppice willow, an excellent biomass crop.
The IPCC report on mitigation demonstrates that bioenergy can provide a serious opportunity to support climate change efforts and, when implemented correctly, is a negative emissions source of energy. For the UK to begin expanding upon its bioenergy potential there is a considerable bottleneck in supply of biomass that needs to be addressed, with much of the current supply being imported from North America.
Our innovation allows us to grow willow faster with a higher yield and on a smaller land footprint than traditional agriculture as well as to a greater degree of quality control. It will support the rapid cultivation of bioenergy crops that the UK needs in order to strengthen its bioenergy sector supply chains, combat its reliance on fossil fuels and do so in a sustainably managed way that minimises waste and maximises productivity.
Furthermore, the project offers a wider and more long-term opportunity to diversify the range of crops which can be grown in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) systems. Not only is it useful to gain practical experience in growing new and larger crops in CEA systems, but the project also involves an additional focus on socioeconomic impact, and on environmental sustainability via Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Coupled with data modelling from plant growth trials, this will create valid and reliable decision-making tools, based on good data and clear mechanisms for measuring impact, which will in turn help to de-risk crop diversification and implementation into agriculture more broadly.
The Taeda Tech Project team has ambitious plans for the future. We believe that aeroponics can help strengthen traditional farming by providing superior quality crops, as well as support other climate mitigation efforts such as reforestation and afforestation projects.
The project is a collaborative effort between leading academic and industrial institutions. It is being led by the Centre for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Surrey in collaboration with partners including: Rothamsted Research, Forest Research, NIAB, UK Urban AgriTech, LettUs Grow, NMC2, Glideology and CapitalAgri.
We’re all very excited to get on with the work and deliver on the enormous potential of this project. Keep your eye on our social media and on here for further upcoming blogs and articles as the journey progresses!
More information available via the official press release here: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/soilless-technology-could-help-uks-biomass-industry-grow