Power from crops grown on unused land

According to a study supported by UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) 4% of England’s electricity could be potentially generated from short rotation coppice energy crops that could be grown on unused land.

Crops such as popular, willow and others could help the UK reach its target of renewable energy of 15% of all and 30% sourced from renewable materials by 2020, with the key role in this being played by biomass in achieving these goals.

Energy crops can significantly reduce the emission of greenhouse gases various studies have shown and the UKERC study showed that ethanol can be produced from the new technology used in short rotation coppice which is an advantage to crops such as wheat and maize because they can be planted on unused, poor agricultural land.

Bioenergy crops can be grown sustainably, the study showed, over parts of England with no negative impact to food crops or any other ecosystems says University of Southampton professor of plant biology Gail Taylor.

Estimates show that marginal land such as lands that have grades 4 and 5 can produce over 7 million tonnes of biomass and with this amount it is sufficient to produce close to 4% of the electricity demand for the UK and close to 1% of the energy demand.