In order to help the fight against climate change FCC Environment is keen to exploit the renewable resources that it has to hand
In particular the landbank that it can utilise in order to ‘grow energy’ in the form of crops such as willow, elephant grass or reed canary grass.
To help government meet renewable energy targets FCC Environment will be growing crops such as these on many of its landfill sites, wherever practicable and economic to do so, in order to supply fuels, in the form of pellets, billets (tree stems) or bales which can then be burnt alongside coal in large power stations such as Drax, or in smaller bespoke developments which are coming into operation around the UK producing heat and/or power.
About 20 sites have been planted to-date. These so call energy crops are ‘carbon neutral’ since the crop that grows following every harvest effectively absorbs any carbon dioxide emitted when the fuel is burnt. Energy crops are an excellent choice of crop for FCC Environment since they are perennial and require low levels of management (such as pesticides and fertiliser) to provide the yields.
In a further beneficial twist FCC Environment will be irrigating a number of willow coppices with landfill leachate, basically using the crop to process the otherwise troublesome liquid. This will remove the need for conventional, energy intensive, methods of treating leachate as well as boost crop yields – thus providing a positive double whammy of reduced energy consumption and greater production of renewable fuel.