Green Gown Awards 2020 - Aberystwyth University - Finalist

Tags: Green Gown Awards 2020 | Research with Impact Institution | Aberystwyth University

Photo credit: Terravesta Green Gown Awards 2020 - Aberystwyth University - Finalist image #2 Green Gown Awards 2020 - Aberystwyth University - Finalist image #3 Green Gown Awards 2020 - Aberystwyth University - Finalist image #4 Green Gown Awards 2020 - Aberystwyth University - Finalist image #5

Domesticating the energy grass Miscanthus to combat climate change 

Decarbonising the UK’s electricity supplies, and heating systems requires a range of low carbon technologies such as wind, solar and hydrogen. Plants take up carbon dioxide as they grow, and if we burn these plants to generate electricity, we can generate low carbon electricity. If these power stations are also fitted with carbon capture and storage technologies, we can create a net reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide.  

Miscanthus is a perennial grass that is native to South Asia and can grow more than three metres tall each year. At Aberystwyth University we collected Miscanthus plants from Asia and used them as parent plants to create new domesticated varieties that grow well in UK conditions without fertiliser, on land that is unsuitable for food production.  

Our varieties are now commercially available to UK growers, and will play an increasingly important part in achieving the UK’s net zero commitments. 

Top 3 learnings:

  1. Working with farmers is key to developing plant varieties that succeed in real world conditions. 
  2. Teamwork underpins our success in basic and applied research.  
  3. Our international collaborators are essential to developing wider markets for the end product. 

Videos