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FCC Environment grows energy crops at former UK landfills

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UK resource and waste management company FCC Environment has been growing energy crops for biomass fuel at its old landfill and quarry sites.

The company, based in Northampton, has been planting Miscanthus grass, also known as elephant grass, at several of its old sites across the UK that it has restored following their closure.

FCC recently harvested this year’s crop and produced over 4,200 tonnes, which will typically produce 1,983,333 kW of low-carbon energy, enough to power around 531 homes for one year.

“As the UK looks to meet its net-zero targets, we need to be constantly thinking about what changes we can make to achieve them, no matter how small,” said Anthony Porter, senior engineering and restoration manager at FCC Environment.

“Miscanthus grass is a truly sustainable renewable energy crop that is seeing rising demand for UK heat and power generation due to its rapid growth, low maintenance, low mineral content, lifespan of over 20 years, and high biomass yield.

“These factors, along with its remarkable environmental credentials, make it the ideal biomass fuel.”

One of the sites where FCC grows the Miscanthus is at Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire. The 20-hectare site currently yields around 175 tonnes of the carbon-neutral biomass fuel now that the crop is established; however, FCC is working to increase the harvested area to 40 hectares, giving it the potential to produce around 350 tonnes in the coming years.