A demonstration of harvesting bracken as part of a feasibility study into producing bioethanol from the pest crop took place at a Scottish farm earlier this month.

The event was organised by Oakland Biofuels Ltd in partnership with Scottish Land & Estates, the latter announced on its website, and involved equipment from Germany’s Brielmaier. The landowner body said that turning bracken from an increasing and widespread problem into a harvestable resource made sense from an economic, environmental and health point of view.

Oakland says that bracken will generate at least 300 litres of bioethanol per tonne. The company is looking at establishing a 90,000 tonne per year plant, which will create 35 jobs in the plant and another 35 in feedstock harvesting and logistics. The project proposes to cut and harvest bracken, as well as other soft biomass, at no cost to farmers or landowners. At the same time, Oakland says, it would reduce local authorities’ costs for landfill or composting and verge management.


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