Using anaerobic digestate to establish reed canary grass energy crops over steel slag

Project name: Scunthorpe trial

This field trial examines the use of anaerobic digestate to establish reed canary grass as an energy crop and drought tolerant fescue/bent grasses on steel slag.  

Situated on a steel works site in the northeast of England, this large scale replicated field trial examines the effect of different rates of digestate with and without green compost on the growth, quality and yield of the crop, and on the soil’s physical and chemical characteristics.  

 

Trial 

The trial comprises 7 treatments:

1. Control (steel slag only)

2. Lower (200kg N/ha) rate of digestate only

3. Compost only (700t/ha)

4. Lower rate (200kg N/ha) of digestate only

5. Higher rate (400kg N/ha) of digestate only

6. Lower rate (200kg N/ha) of digestate and compost (700t/ha) 

7. Higher rate of digestate and compost (700t/ha)

Each treatment has been sown with reed canary grass seed at a rate of 20 kg/ha.

 

Monitoring

Monitoring will continue throughout the trial and will include: 

the dry weight of biomass (annually);  

metal content in herbage tissue (annually);  

gross and net calorific value, ash content and moisture (annually); and 

soil chemical and physical characteristics (twice a year).

 

Final results of the trial will be available from March 2014