The EU has set targets for generating 20% of its total energy from renewables sources. Miscanthus has been developed specifically for energy production, producing large amounts of biomass efficiently: and is widely acknowledged as an ideal energy crop and is supported by Natural England in the form of an Establishment Grant. This support represents a significant opportunity for UK farming.
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 on farm to generate heat, qualifying under the Renewable Heat Initiative or 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.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) from the Department of Climate Change (DECC) aims to revolutionise the way we think about generating heat in commercial buildings and, eventually, our homes (Green Deal..Govt announcement due Autumn 2012).
The RHI for those businesses that install new Biomass Boilers with approved installers, is guaranteed for 20 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 if supplementing local wood supply, that would deliver significant savings over conventional fossil fuel based sources , and provide approximately £6,000 p.a. of RHI payment, related to actual use, which is metered.
SEIL have researched biomass installers and manufacturers and have gained huge experience from 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. All sixteen major UK power plants are now co-firing a proportion of biomass, creating an annual requirement of over 3 million tonnes, and SEIL has secured 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 mindful of the fact that co-firing is one of the largest sources of renewable energy generation in the UK – a fact which is often over looked. Drax recognises the clear benefits of using an energy crops like Miscanthus and developing local supply chains and in doing so requires large volumes of Miscanthus to meet their targets of 12.5% of output from renewable biomass sources.
End Use or Buy Back Contracts are available now for planting for the 2013 season onwards. These end uses are to supply dedicated biomass plants, coal power stations for co-firing, and fuel pellets for the home market. For more information on how you can benefit from these market opportunities please contact us on 0117 230 3411 or fill in our online enquiry form.
Hopefully, Green Deal will be announced shortly and 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.