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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Professor Fred Worrall

Worrall, F. & Clay, G.D. (2014). Potential use of heather, Calluna vulgaris, as a bioenergy crop. Biomass and Bioenergy 64: 140-151.

Author(s) from Durham


Calluna vulgaris can and does grow in areas considered unsuitable for production of biomass crops. In the UK, Calluna vegetation is regularly controlled by burn management and if instead the lost biomass could be harvested would it represent a viable energy crop? This study used established techniques for other energy crops to assess the energy yield, energy efficiency and the greenhouse gas savings represented by cropping of Calluna under two scenarios; only harvested on the area currently under burn management; and harvested on the present total area of Calluna in the UK. The study can consider biomass potential across the UK and can include altitude changes. The study can show that Calluna would represent an efficient energy crop in areas where it would not be possible to revert to functioning peat bogs. The energy efficiency was View the MathML source with GHG savings of up to 11 tonnes CO2eq ha−1 yr−1. When considered across the UK the potential energy production was up to 40.7 PJ yr−1 and the potential greenhouse gas saving was upto −2061 ktonnes CO2eq yr−1 if the all Calluna could be brought into production and substituted for coal.