Benefits

As energy independence becomes a growing concern both environmentally and economically, regional communities must focus on ways to produce energy from own local natural resources. Miscanthus x giganteus (MG) can be cost-effectively converted into clean energy to help local communities meet their energy independence goals; also it can be a strong contributor to rural development. MG provides a renewable, environmentally-friendly energy source that can be locally grown and burnt. MG cultivation in rural areas can have immediate positive impacts because just one biorefinery can generate over 300 direct and indirect jobs. MG will be grown local to each facility, thereby creating jobs immediately in the areas.

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 oil seed rape (1:4). One ton of MG can replace 0.6 tons of hard coal, and 400 liters of oil, outperforming switchgrass and other alternatives. MG is a Cost-Effective Fuel, from the ground up, it just makes sense:

• Produces up to 30 harvested tons per hectare at maturity

• Up to 16 mm BTU/ton, on dry matter basis

• Moisture content at harvest of 10-15%

• Highly efficient at carbon storage 5.2-8.2 tC/ha/yr,

• Low ash content & mineral content—very clean burning

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*€4.36 per Giga Joule is equivalent to €0.16 cent per liter of home heating oil.

MG composition of lignin, cellulose-hemicellulose plays a crucial role in optimizing strategies for biofuels. It’s more challenging to release the sugars in this feedstock for conversion to biofuels and chemicals, but MG as a cellulosic feedstock offers several advantages over starch- and sugar- based feedstocks. MG is nonfood, it is cheaper and more abundant, so perfectly serves and provides a solution for producing more substantial amounts of biofuels and biochemicals to replace fossil fuels.

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Growing MG provides many environmental benefits as well as Carbon Capture and Storage. One of the major drivers for growing MG is it potential for the reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. There are two mechanisms in which growing MG as a RES can offset carbon emissions.

Carbon mitigation:

•The energy content of MG is approximately 19 MJ kgˉ¹. One hectare produces the equivalent energy of 3,300 – 5,700 liters of light heating oil and an average medium sized house will burn around 3000 liters of oil per year, which releases 8.2 tons CO2

• MG is a carbon neutral fuel as carbon that is released during its combustion has been absorbed by the plants when they were growing.

• Greenhouse gas emissions from MG cultivation will be lower than those from other agricultural activities. This is due to lower amounts of fertilizer usage and the absence of animal related emissions.

Carbon sequestration:

• MG can store (sequester) carbon preventing its release into the atmosphere. Sequestration occurs when the inputs of carbon dioxide are greater than removals from harvesting and decomposition.

• Carbon is stored in the rhizomes and roots of MG as well as in un-harvested stubble. In addition, an increase in soil carbon will occur if MG is planted into former tillage land. Carbon captured by MG can be further enhanced if plantations are used for the bioremediation of effluents and sludge.

Besides all above MG is not a food crop like corn used for ethanol production or a forest product like conventional timber, so it does not impact food or lumber prices. MG can be grown effectively on marginal soils, mitigating the pressure for farmers & landowners to convert existing lands.