Driving back from the Midlands on Wed evening I almost crashed the car when I saw Conrad on the A5 road in Wales. Conrad is blue, large and takes a Mercedes lorry to pull him (him, her, it). The AD Biomass production plant is waiting to be powered up. as mentioned in a previous blog we are working with Seven Wye Energy Agency, Cwm Harry Land Trust and a multitude of European partners on the ‘Combine’ project. The purpose of which is to investigate the viability of using different kinds of crops (road side verges, rushes, bracken, gorse) which are often perceived as problem habitats but we hope to prove that we can manufacture what will be viable biomass fuel with a multitude of economic, environmental and social benefits (three pillars of sustainable development).
Thanks to the European Union under the Interreg IV b, the The Welsh Gov /Trunk Road Agency in Wales plus a lot of time and resources from partners the project is now in the ‘doing and researching’ phase. Crops have been harvested, machinery delivered and open days organised at Hafod y Llan. Much more as Conrad gets into his stride testing, trailing and manufacturing. Four months of research and trialing at Hafod y Llan and we hope we can start showing the benefits of looking wider for our biomass fuel but also start to solve some other habitat management challenges. Technical aspects to follow (the how)
Combine strives to
In the 4 partner regions the COMBINE project strives for this by:
- Producing storable solid fuel with a highly energy-efficient process
- Utilising biomass from extensively used grassland areas and landscape management, which can neither be used in animal feeding nor in conventional energetic conversion technologies
- Increasing the efficiency of biomass supply chains, through the addition of a year-round heat sink in distributed biogas or AD plants and by new harvesting and conditioning techniques.
- Creating new energy supply chains from biomasses in the project regions and beyond
- Securing livelihood for small farmers and disadvantaged persons in retreated areas through the creation of new income sources and regional added values with renewable energy production
- Contributing to reducing the conflict between bio-energy and food production by exploring and utilisation of new raw materials.