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Biomass Crops Could Create New ‘Low Carbon’ Economy

A focus on biomass energy could put your anaerobic digestion tank’s safety relief valves to extra work, especially if suggested plans to plant 1.4 million hectares of biomass crops are enacted.

According to a new report from the Energy Technologies Institute, adding to the UK’s biomass crops could help to make a significant contribution to cost effective, low carbon energy system by 2050 reported Energy Live News.

At present, biomass energy relies of waste feedstocks - the plant material left over from the agriculture sector, however the report claims that their is now the need to focus on specific ‘bioenergy’ crops to bolster the supply for energy production through biomass.

The report says that crops such as Miscanthus, Short Rotation Coppice willow and Short Rotation Forestry should be grown now, increasing each year incrementally so farmers can grow their own expertise on these crops alongside. When biomass crops reach the suggested level, they would take up 7.5 per cent of agricultural crops across the UK - however, it’s suggested that the farming industry may have to be ‘restructured’ to meet this demand.

Hannah Evans, the ETI’s Bioenergy Strategy Manager, said that as we leave the EU, it’s a perfect time for this restructuring to take place: “This could place a value on the wider environmental benefits growing second generation energy crops can make to the farming landscape, reducing the risk to farmers by providing a degree of income security,” she said.

For this ‘restructuring’, it could mean some upfront costs. This may be a barrier for some farmers taking up the transition, however, to create a sustainable energy system, it may be something the government choose to incentivise in the future.