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). 

Bioenergy novel

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).

Additional Information

Energy 2050

One of the UK’s largest energy research institutes based at the University of Sheffield, our initiative focuses on energy innovation and knowledge exchange and brings together more than 120 academics, and 250 PhD students. It's a research institute that goes beyond traditional research boundaries by delivering innovations to power producers and major consumers with technology providers, focused on competitiveness and the de-risking of large scale investment in new technologies both in the UK and internationally.

The University of Sheffield

With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:
Kirsty Bowen
0114 222 1034