Stewart is a green activist turned respected energy consultant and woodland owner. A geographer, he undertook post-graduate management training and ran a local Friends of the Earth (FOE) group from 1979. He was on the national FOE staff in 1984 as energy campaigner during the Chernobyl disaster. He had stints with energy efficiency trade association ACE and then Greenpeace International before running an international energy efficiency charity in Eastern Europe and South Africa. Since then he has increasingly been engaged with the bio-energy consultancy and commercial sector, including stints with boiler installation and fuel companies. He currently runs the Consultancy arm of South East Wood Fuels (SEWF) as well as a bespoke green business film company – One Planet Media. He owns and manages 18 acres of woodland in East Sussex.
He is married with one daughter and a step-daughter, and a recent grand-daughter. For fun he manages and spends time in the woods, sings and also runs a Men’s Group.
Q Why write a book on Bio-energy?
A Based on our energy consumption and the climatic impacts of this we are in deep trouble on Planet Earth. Having spent a lot of time consulting on energy as well as working in woodlands I realised that bio-energy is one of the more important alternatives to fossil fuels. Though some regard wood and other biomass as 'old fashioned' in fact it offers really cool modern technology and a wide variety of fuels. Unlike other renewables it offers 24-7 power, heat and transport energy and a great transition to a low-carbon energy future.
Q You've got 30 Case Studies in the book - give us a brief flavour
A The Case Studies include Virgin Airlines who really kick-started the airline industries push into sustainable biofuels. Richard Branson knows how to market his brand but he also puts his money where his mouth is. Other Case Studies include one of the biggest bio-ethanol plants in Europe - the Vivergo plant in Eastern UK. This takes more than a million tonnes of wheat and turns it into 420,000 million litres of bio-ethanol, a range of chemicals, lots of CO2 for carbonated drinks and 500,000 tonnes of protein animal feed. I also show how modern wood heating with 85% efficient boilers are rejuvenating large Estates and woodland as well as inner city urban tower blocks. It's exciting stuff and is little known.
Bio-energy is the most important and versatile renewable energy option globally, yet is surrounded by confusion and controversy. This book provides a comprehensive and readable assessment of bio-energy fuels and technologies, with 30 real world case studies and many practical tips. The author concludes that a fifth of UK energy could come from this source - three times that from nuclear power