Date: 08 Apr 2010

Comparison of Different Low-Input Lignocellulosic Crops as Feedstock for Bio-ethanol Production

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Abstract

Lignocellulosic biomass is a renewable carbon source and can significantly contribute to a reduction of the use of fossil resources for the production of energy, chemicals and materials. Lignocellulose serves as feedstock a.o. for the production of energy (by direct combustion or by fermentation), building materials (wood, thatch, straw, particle board), paper and cardboard. In this study several low-input energy crops are being compared for their potentiality as feedstock for bio-ethanol production. In May 2007, a yield trial was installed with the following crops: two Miscanthus species, two varieties of Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass), two varieties of Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), one accession of Phragmites australis (common reed) and one willow (Salix spp.) cultivar as short rotation coppice reference. The trial is being conducted under low input conditions: no fertilizer is applied and the biomass is harvested once a year in late winter – early spring. In 2008 and 2009, dry matter yield was determined as well as the cell wall composition (ADL, ADF and NDF). Two-year experience and results are discussed.