Miscanthus x Giganteus is What You Used For Your Energy Plantations? Why You Should Be Using Arundo Donax L. Instead!



Revealing the truth behind Arundo Donax and Miscanthus

The Potential of Biomass: the world of Miscanthus

Due to the rising global energy demand and concerns over greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation, there is now an increased demand for renewable energy sources. These new energy resources have the potential to not only lessen our dependence on the depleting resources of fossil fuels, but also mitigate climate change impacts. The highest potential source of renewable energy is currently said to be biomass which now supplies over 10% of the world’s energy use having the potential to meet the third of the total global energy demand in the future. However, expanding the field of biomass production is crucial if biofuels and biogas are to make a more significant contribution to our ever-growing energy needs. Miscanthus has been leading the industry so far, but this will soon change!

Evaluating Arundo Donax and Miscanthus

Importance of Energy Crops

Lignocellulosic biomass has a great potential for biofuel and biomaterial production, energy crops such as Arundo Donax L. (giant reed) or Miscanthus x giganteus (Miscanthus) with high yields, low production costs are reliable and sustainable raw material for biomass. However, several aspects have to be considered when choosing the suitable energy crop plantlets. Such as soil quality, the technologies available in the area and other environmental impacts.

Advantages of Arundo Donax over Miscanthus

While both crops have promising characteristics, multiple studies as well as our own company research show that Arundo Donax has a higher potential in all considerable aspects. A comparative study of Miscanthus and Arundo D. carried out by Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (Ge et. al), highlights, that giant reed has a higher biomass yield ranging up to 15-45 dry tonnes per hectare, while Miscanthus has only 10-30 dry tonnes. Arundo is also said to be able to adapt to a broader range of environments. While, both energy crops have the ability to thrive on marginal lands, Arundo Donax is reported to be more resilient to low-quality soil conditions (salty, flooded, contaminated, alkaline) with a life span of 25-30 years. According to a research carried out by the University of California (Mann et. al), Arundo has shown to be more adaptable to drought and moisture stresses and tolerate a wider scope of pH (5.00-10.00 pH) than Miscanthus giganteus.

Saline tolerance test: Arundo vs Miscanthus

Future prospects of Arundo

Arundo D. cultivation has already been reported from Italy, Portugal, France, Greece, China, Australia and the US. Arundo Bioenergy has also carried out multiple successful projects in Mauritius, Madagascar, Philippines, China (Hubei), Italy, Spain, Serbia, Slovakia, Hungary, Sudan and Brazil demonstrating Arundo’s wide scope of applicability. Although Miscanthus is more commonly studied at the moment, it is generally known that giant reed has a higher biomass yield and has the potential to be competitive with Miscanthus in every aspect, receiving growing importance in the bioenergy/renewable energy sector as a new source for biomass production. There is no doubt that Arundo has opened up new investment opportunities.

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