Perennial Biomass Crops

Crops such as miscanthus grasses and coppice willow can be grown and then their biomass burnt to generate energy. Because plants capture CO2 as part of photosynthesis, the energy derived from burning them is largely carbon neutral. If the CO2 produced is captured and stored underground, the process is carbon negative. This is known as Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). Because the crops are perennial, they provide a renewable source of biomass and simultaneously sequester carbon into the soil via their roots. The biomass produced has many other potential uses, for example in the construction industry and as a source of high value chemicals.

About the project

PBC4GGR, the perennial biomass crops project is investigating the potential for plants like willow and miscanthus to support BECCS in the UK. It will demonstrate novel establishment techniques that maximise yield whilst minimising greenhouse gas emissions, and provide an up to date quantification of the scope for Greenhouse Gas Removal. The project will establish the conditions required for farmer uptake and wider societal acceptance, and investigate the costs, benefits and trade-offs for biodiversity and ecosystem services. New field trials will be developed – for miscanthus at Bishop Burton College, East Yorkshire and willow at Myerscough College, Lancashire.

Project lead: Professor Iain Donnison, Aberystwyth University.
Contact: Judith Thornton,

Find out more about the Perennial Biomass Demonstrator