Project Details


Santander International Research Initiator Scheme funding to foster a new collaboration between the University of Bath and the University of Sao Paulo.

Layman's description

The bio-economy is a complex system that can help secure energy supply, mitigate climate change and create economic growth. However, if implemented poorly, it could negatively impact the climate and nature conservation as well as heighten land-use conflicts (e.g. food vs. bioenergy). It is therefore important to consider the whole system and exploit potential synergies by integrating the value chains for bioenergy, food and high value-added bio-products. There are many socio-political and technological options so the system is extremely complex and therefore mathematical modelling and optimisation techniques are required in order to gain insights, understand the full system with all of its interdependencies and therefore make informed decisions about investments in technologies and what types of biomass to grow.

This proposal brings together leading researchers in whole-systems modelling, bioenergy and social sciences in the UK and Brazil with the aim of establishing a world- leading partnership in biomass and systems research. We will build a detailed mathematical model to optimise biomass value chains in Brazil, considering the spatial distribution of resources and with a long planning horizon (beyond 2050). It will consider production of energy vectors and bio-based products from a variety of biomass sources such as food and energy crops and forest residues, and determine the optimal combination of land use and technology investments (capacity and location) and the detailed operation of the network including transport and storage or resources, accounting for economic, environmental and social drivers.

It is envisaged that the model will become a decision support tool for policy makers in Brazil, similar to the model that Dr. Samsatli built for the UK (, which is currently being used by BEIS (formerly DECC) to help determine bioenergy policy in the UK.
Short title£4570
Effective start/end date1/10/1630/01/17

Collaborative partners

  • University of Bath (lead)
  • University of São Paulo (Joint applicant)
  • University of Manchester (Joint applicant)


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