Iberdrola Renovables has said that it is heading the Lignocrop project, which, with a budget of nearly EUR3m, is an advanced initiative for improving the management and production of energy crops.

The company is to develop this initiative with other entities, including the Forest Research Centre, Valencian Institute for Agricultural Research and University of Castilla La Mancha.

The project is subsidized by the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the Spanish Plan to Stimulate the Economy (Plan E), under which the government hopes to promote and support major scientific and industrial initiatives.

Lignocrop is said to be the first project to carry out a study of ways to optimize the whole logistics chain for these crops: genetic selection of crops, production of the plant in the laboratory, growing plants in a suitable locations, harvesting and preparation, processing of the biomass, and delivery to the power station.

Iberdrola said that Lignocrop will focus its study on woody tree species such as the willow, poplar, false acacia and paulownia. As well as generating clean energy, plantations of these trees assist in the recovery of abandoned land and in creating employment in rural areas.

Last summer the company started operations at its first biomass power station in Corduente (Guadalajara), Spain.