Short Rotation Willow



Existing Supply Chains



Gurteen College (ROI): 32 hectares planted in arable land to supply two 300kW boilers used for heating.

Strawson's Energy (England): 400 hectares planted to supply Drax power station.

Hegan Biomass (Northern Ireland): production capacity of 20,000 tonnes/year, used locally as a heat supply.


From these examples and from the literature review carried out, it is clear that while willow appears to be a feasible crop for use as fuel, there seems to be little evidence of any large scale supply chains.


Barriers to Large Scale Uptake


Using the DECC BEAC tool it is clear that growing willow on farmland is the best way to ensure that life cycle CO2 emissions are kept as low as possible.


Weekly Wheat Prices (2015)



Regardless of the price, the wait for the first crop, 1-3 years is off putting to farmers, as is the lack of machinery.


There have been incentives such as the Energy Crop Scheme which tried to increase the growth of energy crops by farmers,  they have had very little effect.