About Miscanthus

In the 35 years since the potential for Miscanthus x giganteus (MG) or Giant Miscanthus as a biomass crop was first recognized in Europe, interest in MG crop has grown and research has led to the development of viable systems for growing, harvesting and utilizing the crop for energy production. High biomass yield, low ash, mineral and water content, a high energy output to input ratio relative to similar biomass feedstocks, ability to withstand cold conditions and poor soils increasingly make MG the key candidate biomass fuel crop.

The energy ratio of MG has been calculated to be, at 1:32, greater than that of any other current agricultural crop, including SRC willow (1:30), wheat (1:9) and oilseed rape (1:4). One ton of MG’s biomass can replace 0.6 tons of hard coal, and 400 liters of oil, outperforming wheat straw, hemp, switchgrass and other alternatives.

  • With an average yield of about 20+ tons of dry matter from the fourth year after planting and high cellulose content (45% – 52%), MG is one of the most promising crops in the European climate.
  • Only in the planting year and the first year post-planting weed control and fertilizing are necessary. For the remaining 20+ years, this is no longer needed due to leaf fall and the rapid growth of the MG.
  • The need for fertilization is very limited (from the third year after planting 30-60kg. N/ha). This is a result of the fact MG is a C4 crop, the crop dries and the nutrients sink back to rhizomes, after leaf fall and composting of the leaves the nutrients are absorbed by the MG rhizomes.
  • Unlike some other perennial crops, MG gives no problems with removal of the crop, hybridization MG is sterile, there is no concern about invasiveness from seed.

 Miscanthus x giganteus represents a key candidate energy crop for use in biomass-to-liquid fuel conversion processes and biorefineries to produce a range of liquid fuels and chemicals; it has recently attracted considerable attention. Its yield, elemental composition, carbohydrate and lignin content, and composition are of high importance to be reviewed for future biofuel production and development. Starting from Miscanthus, various pre-treatment technologies have recently been developed in the literature to break down the lignin structure, disrupt the crystalline structure of cellulose, and enhance its enzyme digestibility. These technologies included chemical, physicochemical, and biological pretreatments. Due to its significantly lower concentrations of moisture and ash, Miscanthus also represents a key candidate crop for use in biomass-to-liquid conversion processes to produce a range of liquid fuels and chemicals by thermochemical conversion. MG composition of lignin, cellulose-hemicellulose plays a crucial role in optimizing strategies for biofuels

 

MG’s biomass can be burned when needed – in the same way as oil, gas or coal. MG can be pressed into fuel pellets/briquettes or chipped for combustion, or it can be used as a feedstock for cellulosic biofuel production. “Energy grass” Giant Miscanthus can be used for:

  • Combustion for electricity and heat production in either biomass-dedicated plants or by being co-fired in more traditional coal plants.
  • Conversion to liquid fuels. In cellulosic fuel processes, MG is a stable and cost-effective feedstock.
  • Paper, cellulosic fiber production and fiber-based materials (sustainable pulp and packaging)
  • Construction – incorporation in the manufacture of medium density fiberboard (MDF).
  • Chemical applications like renewable plastics and additives, in place of petroleum-based ingredients.
  • Animal bedding.

The following table shows analyses results from biomass collected in Croatia: