Miscanthus is regarded as a potential biomass feedstock for conversion to energy. The genus Miscanthus comprises of approximately 17 species. The sterile hybrid genotype Miscanthus x Giganteus has been developed out of Miscanthus Saccharisflorus and Miscanthus Sinensis for an increased yield. Miscanthus is a so called sterile hybrid C4 perennial grass which is native to tropical Asia but also grows in moderate climate zones like Mid- and Northern Europe. Vibers grows Miscanthus x Giganteus.
Why does vibers grow Miscanthus (or Elephant Grass)
- Grows on marginal land not ment for food production
- No fertilizers needed
- Captures ca. 30 tonnes CO2 / ha a year
- suitable for use in a lot of materials, such as bio-plastic, bio-concrete and paper
What does Miscanthus contain
Miscanthus is a biomass largely consisting of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Cellulose (C6, 30-53% wt) is the main resource for most biomaterials. Hemi-cellulose (C5, 19-43% wt) represents the matrix consisting of various polysaccharides. Lignin (7 to 24% wt) provides the biomass structure, rigidity and integrity. Cellulose consist of a crystalline structure from microfibers coated by merely amorphous hemicellulose. Lignin is providing strength to the plant.
The harvest of Miscanthus in Europe typically occurs in the Autumn (October, November) and late Winter/early Spring just before the start of the next growing season when the plants are fully senescent. The dry matter yield is highest in the Autumn harvest, because Miscanthus loses its leaves during the Winter. Spring harvest allows the plant to recycle nutrients (e.g. N) by falling leaves and leaching. This will result in less nutrient and mineral depletion of the soils were Miscanthus is grown.
Moisture content ranges from 15-20% for late Winter harvests to approximately 65% for Autumn harvests. The moisture content in fertilized plants is higher than in untreated crops. Yields in tonnes/ha (DM) are more than doubled for fertilized crops.
Miscanthus yields are depending on numerous factors like genotypes, soil types, harvesting period, crop age, location, nutrients used and the weather during the growing season. Yield data from Miscanthus harvested during different seasons and in different countries/continents. Miscanthus in southern Europe is generating higher yields due to higher temperatures and solar radiation.
You can read more about Miscanthus at the Wageningen University website:
Elephant grass Miscanthus