A Welsh farm run by the National Trust is testing German technology which could transform “nuisance” roadside crops into biomass fuel.
The Hafod y Llan farm in Snowdonia is looking at whether a new process could turn soft rush, gorse and bracken crops into a new source of cash for farmers – and clean energy.
The Blue Conrad process – housed in a blue lorry-sized box (pictured) – washes and presses natural vegetation into circular pellets or ‘briquettes’ of biomass which can be used as solid fuel.
When the four-month trial is done – three other sites with roadside verges in Germany, Belgium and France are taking part – the results will be sent back to the University of Kassel in Germany to be looked over.
Andy Bull, Head of Regional Strategy and Planning at Severn Wye Energy Agency said: “We hope [the technology] will resolve the conflict between bioenergy and food production by utilising raw materials which have previously not been suitable for biomass, such as roadside verges.”