Research Plan

The thesis is due in six months and the research and data collection phase will continue until a month or so before the hand-in date. A number of research aims have been defined and a Gantt chart constructedto ensure that the research and data collection remains on schedule.  By dividing the research into eight well defined stages it is hoped that at any time it will be possible to determine the progress of the thesis.

Research Stages;

  • Determine what biomasses are available in each case study and which have energy potential
  • Determine the quantity of these biomasses and the energy potential that they represent
  • Research specific technologies available to harness energy from biomass feedstocks
  • Based on the technologies and biomasses available evaluate the most applicable for each case study
  • Calculate how much energy can be produced from the available biomass
  • Compare this to current energy demand, to determine the extent of potential self sufficiency
  • Analyse the potential savings in terms of green house gases, economics etc
  • Analyse the opportunity cost of any proposed projects
After all eight stages are completed it is hoped that an idea of the self sufficiency potential of both case studies will have been determined and that the financial, environmental and social aspects will have been investigated. From this a report will be written summarising the available biomasses, applicable technologies and making recommendations on their implementation and use. The report will also critically evaluate any proposed biofuel project, in particular looking at its impact on the local economy and environment.

  • Website presentation- 4th November 2009
  • Interim Submission- 19th January 2010
  • Thesis Write up- 21st April 2010


In the six weeks since our thesis research began we have concentrated on the first two stages of our research and on a review of available literature. Initially we identified what waste materials would be available and what wood could be used for energy recovery. With a list complied we began to phone and e-mail companies and individuals who we hoped would be able to assist with data collection. In general the response was very positive with many people providing data immediately and others promising data in the future. However, a few companies have not been particularly helpful and other sources of data have had to be found. The data collection is well progressed and already we have a clear idea of what materials, in terms of volume, will be viable.

The literature review is also well progressed, with a number of reports being read and critically reviewed. The report form of this review has also begun, documenting what different sources say, what views they support and how their views link in with the research that we are carrying out. The report also looks at the bias of the writers and the publishers so the reliability of the literature can be gauged. This review will form the basis of the interim report submitted in January.

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