The potential use of heather, calluna vulgaris, as a bioenergy crop

Fred Worrall, Gareth D. Clay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 65±19GJoutputGJinput-1 with GHG savings of up to 11tonnes CO2eq ha-1 yr-1. When considered across the UK the potential energy production was up to 40.7PJ yr-1 and the potential greenhouse gas saving was upto -2061ktonnes CO2eq yr-1 if the all Calluna could be brought into production and substituted for coal. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-151
Number of pages11
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Energy efficiency
  • GHG efficiency
  • GHG emissions
  • Managed burning
  • Moorland
  • Peat


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