Bioenergy to the rescue! Energy research gets graphic with new illustrated guide

  • Graphic novel created to explain bioenergy and answer questions
  • Developed by artists and academics, including the University of Sheffield’s Dr Karen Finney
  • Bioenergy could play an important part in the fight against climate change

A new graphic novel which addresses the big questions around bioenergy and climate change is being launched ahead of a major conference this week. (Tuesday 21 March).


A unique collaboration between artists and researchers, the graphic novel aims to answer some of the big questions such as: What is bioenergy? Does growing biofuel compete with growing food? And does bioenergy really reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Aimed at a general audience and schoolchildren, the handy and accessible guide will be used by the bioenergy industry and policymakers to use in promoting the benefits and addressing some of the controversies around the subject.

Dr Karen Finney, from Energy 2050 at the University of Sheffield, said: “Many people are unaware of bioenergy but it is becoming a larger part of our energy mix in the UK.

“Bioenergy can come from farming by-products, crops, sewage and even algae, and could play an important part in our move away from fossil fuels and help in the fight against climate change.

“A graphic novel is such an innovative way to inform people on bioenergy – our research produces lots of academic journal papers, but a comic is much more approachable . ..and really cool!”

Bioenergy: A Graphic Introduction was created by northern artists, who have interpreted discussions with scientists from the SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub, a multi-institutional centre for UK bioenergy industry and academia.

A series of striking images imagine alternative futures involving bioenergy and explain some of the technology involved and how it might be put into practice.

The graphic novel will be launched on Tuesday 21 March 2017 ahead of the two-day International Bioenergy Conference 2017 at the University of Manchester (Wednesday 22 & Thursday 23 March 2017), where the latest technologies and policy ideas will be presented to an international audience.

The graphic novel is funded by Research Councils UK (RCUK Energy Programme).