Birmingham and Solihull businesses invited to trial new climate change technology

Up to ten businesses from in and around Birmingham and Solihull will be given the chance to trial a ground-breaking project launched during COP26 to help combat climate change through the use of biochar.

The call-out, which is for companies wanting to make the move towards becoming carbon neutral, has come from the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) based at Aston University. It follows the launch of its new urban biochar greenhouse gas reduction and sustainable materials generator earlier this year.

The chosen ten will be guided by the experts at EBRI into how they can use biochar, a sustainable form of charcoal made from organic waste, and how it can be used for practical purposes.

The fuel for the trial will be sourced from the new state-of-the-art equipment which was built at a horticultural nursery on the outskirts of Birmingham, which is now producing biochar from urban tree waste from around the city.

The project, called the ‘Urban Biochar and Sustainable Materials Demonstrator’, is being led by the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) based at Aston University and is being funded by Local Growth Fund (LGF) from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), as well as the EU European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The equipment, which was delivered and installed at Birmingham City Councils Cofton Nursery near the Lickey Hills in August, is now used to process tree waste produced around the city and Solihull area, using a thermal conversion process to create the biochar.

Biochar has a variety of uses, including carbon capture, water treatment, soil improvement, odour control and industry applications.

Tim Miller, director of engagement at EBRI, said he hoped many businesses would step forward to be involved in such an exciting project which would help them move towards their own sustainable standards in the coming years.

“With the talks at COP26 ongoing over these next few days, now is the perfect time for us to do the call out to businesses to step forward and benefit from such incredible technology.

“The ten ‘live use’ case trials will be able to demonstrate how biochar can be used for practical purposes, for decarbonisation and for work to improve the land as a soil amender. The businesses can be any size. What we are looking for is places that people can use this biochar material. It maybe green roofs, or hydroponics, green walls, it maybe they are doing some sort of property development and want to look to see how they can reduce the greenhouse gas balance impact of their property. Or perhaps they are going through the process of planting trees and want to be able to use the biochar which will help store carbon in the ground and increase tree growth,” he added.

Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) Net Zero Board Champion, Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council added: “GBSLEP has invested in projects to drive the growth of our low carbon and energy technology sector. The £306,000 grant from our Local Growth Funding has enabled this state-of the-art equipment to be installed.

“It will convert tree waste from homes across Solihull and Birmingham into a sustainable energy use for our businesses. This project is a fantastic example of how we are locally supporting the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.”

For further details about the plant, email or call 0121 204 3383.