Despite the current confusing political climate in the UK, many people identify the need for us to increasingly source our energy needs from renewables sources. Miscanthus has been developed for energy production, producing large amounts of biomass efficiently: and is widely acknowledged as an ideal energy crop which has been previously supported by Natural England in the form of an Establishment Grant. It also complements forestry as it sits easily alongside to help even out supply chain needs.
Energy crops can be used for a range of energy markets, for dedicated biomass power stations or co-firing at existing coal power stations. On a smaller scale the crop can be burnt directly as chip (or bought pelletised) on farm to generate heat, qualifying under the Renewable Heat Initiative as it is now more widely densified into energy crop pellets for use in dedicated boilers at home or in business. Within the UK, it is estimated that over 125,000 Ha of production is required for Dedicated Power Projects, with further areas needed to satisfy the co-firing and heating markets. This can all be grown on non food producing land that still qualifies for BFP. It is ideal for farmers wishing to take life easier but who still want to retain control over their land.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) from the Department of Climate Change (DECC) has helped revolutionise the way we think about generating heat in commercial buildings and, eventually, our homes, (once Government decide on their best Policy to achieve this!)
The RHI for those businesses that install new Biomass Boilers with approved installers, is guaranteed for at least 7 years and is index linked.
For example, an approved 60Kw Biomass boiler installed to provide heating and hot water for a small office block would only require 3 hectares of locally grown Miscanthus as its sole fuel, or less when supplementing local wood supply. This would deliver significant savings over conventional fossil fuel based sources, and provides approximately £6,000 p.a. of RHI payment, related to actual use, which is metered.
SEIL Team have researched biomass installers and manufacturers and have gained huge experience, trading in other EU countries. We know the good guys and the ones to sidestep, and will be pleased to help. Just give us a call, using the call back or online enquiry form.
Another major UK market, currently, is for co-firing Miscanthus in existing coal fired power stations to generate renewable electricity. Many major UK power plants are now co-firing a proportion of biomass, creating an annual requirement of over 3 million tonnes, and SEIL Team have helped secure substantial indirect co-firing contracts with companies such as Drax Power Ltd (who own and operate the largest and cleanest power station in the UK). Drax supplies around 7% of the UK's entire electricity and is a leader and innovator helping to create new sources of biomass for renewable energy generation in the UK – a fact, often over looked. Drax recognises the clear benefits of using Energy Cops like Miscanthus and by developing local supply chains has helped create demand for large volumes of Miscanthus to meet their targets of 12.5% of output from renewable biomass sources.
Green Deal has failed to take off, but we all hope that something like it will be announced shortly. This will allow compacted Miscanthus to be used in dedicated domestic biomass heating boilers and will be competitive against conventional fossil fuel alternatives. It is estimated that biomass heating sources could contribute up to 3% of the total UK energy requirement, particularly now that the UK Govt have launched the Renewable Heat Initiative. Currently, this provides support of over 8p per kWh, index linked to approved projects. See the leading paragraph above, on the Renewable Heat Incentive.
Currently most biofuels are produced from food based crops like maize, wheat and rape. However, scientific advancements mean that Miscanthus can be used in second generation biofuels using ligno-cellulosic conversion. Miscanthus produces significantly lower CO2 emissions per unit of fuel than many other crops. As it also produces higher yields per hectare of land, much less land is required, enabling more land to be used to produce food crops for consumption. This process is now near commercial launch so please ask for more information. Process Plants are modular and can be designed and constructed to meet individual needs.