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Biofuel crops being grown on landfill sites

May 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

The rising demand for biofuel has led the WRG (Waste Recycling Group) to come up with a novel way to produce its own. The group has just announced that it will be planting biofuel crops on land that was formerly being used as landfill sites.

Biofuel is being suggested as one of the solutions to global warming because it is carbon neutral – the carbon it uses to grow is then used up in the fuel, so no extra carbon gets released into the atmosphere.

The WRG has now begun to plant the biofuel crops on a total of 14 landfill sites across England, and it will harvest these once a year and sell them to Drax Power Station in Selby where they will be converted into biomass fuel.

The group carried out a test project on three hectares of land at Breighton landfill site which is located in Yorkshire. The success of this test project has led it to expand the project to 100 hectares on numerous sites.

It will be growing a combination of SRC (short rotation coppice) and miscanthus grass on the old landfill sites. It will take three years before they can first be harvested, but after that the crops will produce eight to 12 tonnes per hectare each year.

Miscanthus grass is a high-yielding crop which grows very quickly even in bad quality soil. Once planted it keeps on returning each year for up to 30 years, making it ideal for growing on the old landfill sites. Funding for the project is coming from Natural England.

The senior restoration and energy crop manager at WRT, Mark Pailing, called the project an “exciting development”.

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