FCC Environment harvests first crop of biomass fuel

By Chris Hanson | May 17, 2013

FCC Environment harvested its first crop of miscanthus grass grown on its former landfill and quarry sites in Darrington, West Yorkshire and Calverton in the U.K.

The grass is grown on a 30 hectare (74.1 acres) site more than two hours north of London and is expected to yield up to 300 short tons annually of biomass that will be pelletized or baled, then sent to Drax Power Stations to be co-fired to generate electricity. Future uses may include the crops being utilized in anaerobic digesters owned by FCC.

“We specifically select crops which will aid the long-term restoration of the sites, thereby providing a further benefit to the process.” said Mark Pailing, senior restoration and energy crops manager at FCC. “We aim to have more sites in production in the coming months and years as we continue to move towards a resource-focused solution to managing the waste we all generate.”

Miscanthus was selected due to the plant’s deep root system, which adds biodegradable matter and aeration to promote soil structure. Other biomass crops grown on FCC’s restored landfill sites include short-rotation willow coppice and maize which encompasses more than 200 hectares.

Currently, FCC is working on using treated landfill leachate to irrigate crops, such as its willow coppice, on some of the landfill sites. FCC cited this method will improve crop yield and remove the need to treat leachate.