Sector: The Environment
As well as expertise directly relevant to renewable energy production, the James Hutton Institute can address the impacts of renewable energy on agriculture, the environment, communities and processing industries. Institute scientists have worked across all sectors of the renewable energy industry including major companies involved with wind energy and biofuels.
The James Hutton Institute is ISO9001 accredited for quality and is environmentally compliant to ISO14001. Much of the analytical work is accredited to ISO17025.
Renewable Energy and Environmental Impact
The James Hutton Institute has undertaken extensive research into the impacts of renewable energy schemes on the environment.
Previous projects include:
- Statistical modelling of the impact on bird populations of both off-shore and on-shore wind turbines
- Impact on water quality of wind farms
- Monitoring the impact of a range of renewable energy projects on soil quality.
- Modelling the impacts of growing biofuel crops on the natural environment
Renewable Energy and Agriculture
The James Hutton Institute has world-leading expertise in crop genetics, especially in cereals and potatoes. The Institute is utilising this knowledge to develop crops more suitable for biofuel production, for example through a better understanding of lignin biosynthesis and lignin structure.
James Hutton Limited can arrange trials for crops that are being proposed for biofuel production in new environments (eg rye and maize) and help select the most appropriate varieties for different geographical locations and soil types.
We can also advise on the use of compost and digestate from AD plants on agricultural land and their impact on soil biology, chemistry and physics. This extends to advice on crop nutrition and optimising the use of digestate on crop / soil type combinations.
Our analytical capability can be used to analyse digestate and look for the presence of heavy metals or other toxic compounds.
We can also model the financial viability of renewable energy developments and the impacts of growing biofuel crops on agricultural production systems and to investigate the optimum siting and size of AD plants from an organisational perspective.
Renewable Energy and Communities
As Owen Patterson (Defra Minister) said, “The relationship between renewable energy sources and the communities we expect to host them must be appropriate and sustainable and, above all, acceptable to local people”.
The Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group at the James Hutton Institute is at the forefront of research to enhance community participation and engagement through facilitated workshops and meetings. The group also has particular expertise in re-energising Scottish communities through local energy generation schemes.
Renewable Energy and Processing Industries
Food and drink processing companies generate large amounts of waste, much of which has the potential to generate energy. The James Hutton Institiute has worked with companies in the potato processing, brewing and distilling sectors to analyse their waste streams and advise on potential uses.