miscanthus crop

Perennial biomass crops like miscanthus and short rotation coppice have the potential to meet energy demands as renewable fuels, helping to reduce GHG emissions and strive towards Net Zero.

Biomass crops are non-food plants cultivated for the purposes of energy production. Sometimes referred to as energy crops, they have a high potential energy content or calorific value.

For resources and information on Biomass crops, visit Biomass Connect

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In 2015, the UK pledged to be Net Zero by 2050, with the NFU striving for the more ambitious target of 2040. Net Zero is achieved when the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted is balanced with those removed from the atmosphere. This helps to combat climate change and reduce global warming.

The major commodity crops in the UK are wheat, barley, oilseed rape, field beans, sugar beet and potatoes, but around half of agricultural land grows grass.   

This topic refers to the whole food supply chain, from farm fork, and all the products and services that contribute to food production.

White Horse Energy have secured funding from Department of Energy Security and Net Zero as part of the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme to develop a transportable pelletising technology. This will be deployed at farm level with the capability of processing agricultural residues and perennial energy crops into industrial standard biomass pellets. This produces a high-density renewable energy source, for which the demand is growing substantially because of the need to find alternatives to fossil fuels. A prototype of the mobile pelletiser is currently being developed ready to enter the market. White Horse Energy hopes to provide farmers with an opportunity to increase farm revenue, all year round, without interfering with existing operations.  Due to a lack of domestic production, current UK demand for biomass feedstocks significantly outweighs available supply. Therefore, a large proportion of biomass material is currently imported, which limits the sustainable nature of this energy source. White Horse Energy’s innovation will increase the viability of UK production and provide farmers with the opportunity to diversify into a new UK market, with lower environmental impacts and input costs. White Horse Energy are keen to engage with farmers during this development stage to understand the issues and concerns within the agricultural industry that affect growers most. This engagement assists in shaping the project to provide a diversification option that contributes positively to both the environment and farm income. Ultimately producing a solution that meets a wide variety of needs for everyone.

Growing a miscanthus supply chain

As part of the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Program, White Horse Energy are developing a transportable pelletiser to process agricultural residues and perennial energy crops behind the farmgate. This will provide farmers with a diversified and increased revenue stream without interfering with existing operations. For more information, read on.

Willow, a fast-growing and versatile plant, has gained prominence as a biomass crop due to its numerous applications and environmental benefits. Willow's suitability for biomass production arises from its rapid growth, ability to adapt to various soil types, and its capacity to be sustainably harvested.

Willow is harvested every three to four years depending on the plant growth. Harvesting is done during the dormant season in winter (mid-October to early March) after leaf fall and before bud break.

Miscanthus, a tall, perennial grass, has gained recognition as a promising biomass crop due to its rapid growth, high biomass yield, and versatility in applications.

The Lot 1 Innovation project ‘Accelerating Willow Breeding and Deployment’ project led by Rothamsted Research has just released a ‘Growers guide to short rotation coppice willow (SRCw) varieties for biomass’.

These guidelines are designed to introduce farmers to a new crop. 

In the past twenty years woody biomass has been recognised as an important biomass source which can be used primarily for heat generationcombustion.

Willow as a biomass crop – All the information in an easy-to-read Factsheet.

The deliberate integration of biomass crops into agroforestry systems can deliver a wide range of environmental benefits including improving soil health, carbon sequestration, enhancing biodiversity, and improving water quality.

Silphium could provide a profitable and viable perennial bioenergy crop. For Sida to be a profita

Part of a series of projects from the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) looking at the potentia

  Expanding Domestic Biomass in the UK UK PARLIAMENT POST, JANUARY 2023 Biomass is already widely used for low carbon energy generation and is projected to play an important role in meeting UK net zero targets. Demand is expected to start rising rapidly across the UK to supply large scale renewable bioenergy in electricity generation and emerging markets such as sustainable aviation fuels. This will require a substantial expansion in domestic biomass production to avoid an increased reliance on foreign import. U

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