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FCC Environment reaps energy from landfill sites

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FCC Environment reaps energy from landfill sites

Background

FCC Environment is one of the largest recycling and waste management companies in the UK. Three years ago, as a key part of the restoration programme, the company began to use some of its closed and operating landfill and quarry sites to grow biomass crops to generate renewable energy.

Now, 24 sites covering 200 hectares are being used to grow crops such as miscanthus grass, maize and fast-growing willow. Not only do the crops provide a renewable fuel, they also aid the restoration process.

 

 

 

Cream of the crop

In May 2013, FCC Environment harvested its first crop of biomass fuel at former quarry sites in Darrington, West Yorkshire and Calverton, Nottinghamshire. The sites provided 30 hectares combined of reclaimed land which was used to sow a crop of the annual miscanthus grass. The crop has been sent to Drax power station to be used as a fuel to generate lowcarbon electricity.

This fast-growing grass is one of the preferred crops for biomass use on restored sites as the plants’ deep roots give structure to the soil by adding biodegradable matter and aerating it.The crop is expected to yield up to 300 tonnes of carbon neutral biomass fuel annually once it becomes fully established and, long-term, will help to return the land to agricultural use.

Energy security and resource scarcity

Energy security and resource scarcity are among the defining themes of our age and using landfill sites in this imaginative way is part of FCC Environment’s response. Mark Pailing, senior restoration and energy crops manager at FCC Environment, says: “We specifically select crops which will aid the longterm restoration of the sites thereby providing a further benefit to the process.

 

 

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