Webinar 8 contained a number of slides with detailed, complicated information on them and due to time constraints we had to skip over these relatively quickly. A number of people have asked to see them again so here is the entire Powerpoint presentation from Webinar #8: Managing fuel storage and drying to best practice quality standards.

You can also view the Webinar video complete with the slides and the audio here:

Webinar 8 – Managing Fuel Storage and Drying

Managing fuel storage and drying to best practice quality standards.

Biomass crops produce high yields in a short period of time. However, depending on the crop type and the end use there will be a myriad of ways to store and dry your material. You have to consider storage space, logistics and economics and the end use specification. This webinar provides information on the different options and how you can make sure you are producing the best quality biomass for your chosen market. It also flags up important aspects of health and safety and legal obligations. The webinar also includes case studies from two farmers who are using biomass crops in their boilers and will pass on their experience.

Our Speakers are Will Richardson, Director of RDI Associates, Johnathan Andrew, a farmer from North Devon and David Christopher of Langaller Farm in Somerset.

Biomass crops and their surrounds are brimming with life – birds, bees, butterflies and predatory arthropods all live in, or on the edge and in the surrounds of these plantations.

This webinar provides information on emerging research into understanding how to marry up yield productivity from these crops whilst incorporating simple measures (such as buffer strips and flower-rich grass margins) that increase the edge effect, promote pollinators and maximise biodiversity net gain. There will be some information on recent Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI) payment measures and what this means to growers of different biomass crops.

Our Speakers are Dr. Rebecca Rowe, a terrestrial ecologist from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) and Ed Drewitt, a freelance naturalist.

Rebecca covers topics such as the trends in biodiversity in UK farmland, how biomass crops might help and which crops are the best from a biodiversity point of view. She’ll also cover current research projects and the grants available to biomass crop growers for biodiversity enhancement.

Ed takes a look at biomass plantations from the perspective of a naturalist, investigating how birds and other animals use them, how such plantations could be designed to increase biodiversity and how biomass plantations could contribute to protecting endangered species.

Some biomass crops are more well known than others, but it’s not all about Willow and Miscanthus as they can’t possibly be the best crop for all situations. There are many others to choose from and this webinar will delve into just two of the alternatives, Black Locust and Energy Canes.

Márton Németh (Silvanus Forestry) will talk about Black Locust, a medium-sized tree native to the southern United States that is one of the most commonly planted commercial hardwood trees. It is fast growing producing large amounts of biomass which can be easily coppiced. Biomass Connect are growing varieties of Black Locust at all of our Hub Site trials. The tree produces high-density wood which can be harvested and produced into pellets with high energy content. Black Locust also has many other uses and benefits that will be discussed.

Paul Carver (New Energy Farms) will give a presentation about Energy Canes.

With Kevin Lindegaard (Crops4Energy) steering the discussions, the webinar is an interesting and lively foray into these alternative biomass crops.

Fast-growing biomass crops can play a part as a toolkit measure in water quality protection from diffuse agricultural pollution as well as managing point source discharges such as those from rural waste water treatment works, agri-food processing, septic tanks and even leachates from landfill sites. More recently these crops are finding a role for waste water management in contained Zero Discharge systems for individual houses and hamlets in parts of the country where such containment is deemed necessary. Furthermore, biomass crops can play a role in flood mitigation (stemming the flow of water and stopping large objects floating downstream and blocking culverts). This potentially allows these crops to enable people more time to prepare for a flood event and leads to a reduction in the economic impact and threat to life. This webinar explores the opportunities and the obstacles to harnessing this potential.

Multifunctional Landscapes slides from the talk by Professor Yit Arn Teh presented at the Biomass Crops and Diversification event at Cockle Park Farm, Newcastle University.

The presentations by Caroline Ayre and Gill Alker in Webinar 4 : The Regs – How to play by the rules when planting and using biomass crops were packed full of information that will be useful reference material. A number of people asked if the slides would be available for download after the fact, so here they are.

The Regs – How to play by the rules when planting and using biomass crops

Before you plant perennial crops or use the biomass in a combustion system you need to get your head around the legal nitty gritty. Whether it’s environmental screening, sustainability criteria, emissions thresholds or production quality protocols, there is quite a lot of red tape to navigate. Before embarking on a project, it’s essential to recognise what’s involved and understand the costs and timescales. This webinar will provide you with all the knowledge you need to stay on the right side of the regs.

Biomass Crops – Some Interesting Alternatives.

Some biomass crops are bigger and leave a greater impression than others whilst others might be humbler but still get the job done. Eucalyptus trees can produce exceptional yields of hardwood timber when the right species is planted in the right place. There are plenty of options with numerous species that can thrive with everything the UK climate can throw at them. Reed Canary Grass is at the other end of the spectrum – this is a short-term, lower-yielding perennial that is cheap to establish and easy to remove making it a perfect energy crop for a tenant farmer. Our panel includes environmental farmer John Hawkins and expert silviculturalist Bryan Elliott.

The second webinar in our series. “Emerging Markets for Biomass Crops” contains presentations from William Cracroft-Eley the chairman of Terravesta and Prof J.J. Leahy from the University of Limerick.

William Cracroft-Eley is the Chairman of Terravesta, the UKs largest miscanthus company. He has been growing Miscanthus on his Lincolnshire farm for 20 years. The company is involved in all aspects of cultivation, management, harvesting, processing and marketing of Miscanthus. Terravesta are currently engaged in the BFI-funded Omenz project which stands for ‘Optimising Miscanthus Establishment through improved mechanisation and data capture to meet Net Zero targets’.

OMENZ will deliver improvements on the entire Miscanthus establishment process, including approaches to producing planting material, field preparation, innovative agri-tech, new planting techniques, and cutting-edge technologies to monitor establishment in the field.

Prof J J Leahy is currently an associate professor  in the Dept of Chemical Sciences at the University of Limerick where he is involved in teaching, curriculum development and research in the area of  waste management and renewable energy.   He currently heads a research group consisting of chemists and chemical engineers that is focused on chemical technologies for biofuels and biorefining  from wastes.

Prof Leahy currently is leading the BioWILL project, an Interreg NWE funded project focusing on Integrated “Zero Waste” Biorefinery utilising all fractions of Willow feedstock for the production of high value salicylates from willow bark for medical applications, safe, food quality packaging material to replace fossil derived plastics, a feedstock in an innovative bio-energy anaerobic digestion system producing biogas and natural fertilisers.