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July 11, 2007



This is over a year old :O


"...The study is based on 10 years of research at Minnesota's Cedar Creek Natural History Area, one of 26 NSF long-term ecological research (LTER) sites. It shows that degraded agricultural land planted with diverse mixtures of prairie grasses and other flowering plants produces 238 percent more bioenergy on average than the same land planted with various single prairie plant species, including switchgrass."


Seems like a mixture of native prairie grasses would be a better deal in terms of energy inputs and long term soil fertility.
Prairie grass mixtures don't require irrigation, pesticides, or fertilizer. One or more of the plant species in the mixture is nitrogen fixing, thereby eliminating the need for fossil fuel based fertilizers. I would be wary of the long term consequences of any monoculture crop, even one like miscanthus.

Jim from The Energy Blog


There may not have been much new, to you, in this article, but it is was suggested by a new release Dated July 11:

"At the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists in Chicago this week, researchers showed data illustrating that Miscanthus was twice as productive as switchgrass."

I thought it was worth publishing for my newer readers.

brian hans

I went to the 2007 Miscanthus symposium @ UI-U.C.

Lots of good work being done but 3 things stuck out.

The amount of time for the infrastructure to produce the # of rhizomes, to produce a viable business infrastructure for the end products.

~75$/ton farmgate to make a profit.

The water issue of growing that much biomass/acre.

The rhizome issue and $/acre can be solved with the building of the infrastructure but the water issue is a tough one to square.

Tom Harrington

The number of rhizomes and other plant material for growing miscanthus commercially is available now. What is the water issue? Miscanthus takes no more water than corn except perhaps in its first year.

Tom Harrington

What is the struggle with $75 per ton farmgate? When considering the cost per Btu, that is still cheaper than corn. It competes well in the fuel market. I would buy all futures now at $75 a ton. domestic fuel pellets are $225 a ton in many US markets. Process and distribution to market adds $15-20 per ton. That leaves a 100% profit margin. Miscanthus is being sold now to utilities (the lowest price users) for $90 per ton in the UK. At $75 per ton, MXG is second only to coal in lowest cost per Btu. Considering the carbon sequestration value, it is competitive with coal.

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