Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Information on crops establishment, cultivation, yielding performances, harvesting and pre-treatment requirements

The information collected so far from RTD programmes regarding the energy crops feasibility for electricity and/or heat generation presents great variations with respect to biomass yields, feedstock physico-chemical properties and financial aspects. These variations are mainly due to crop species, the crop/site-specific cultivation techniques and the soil-climatic conditions.

Additionally, harvesting of the crops is signalled by the senescence of the crops on the field and thus climatic conditions prevailing at that time are very critical factors influencing the feasibility to successively harvest a selected number of crops and ensure a raw material throughout the year. To eliminate the site effect, which is a major source of variability, this project is focused on South European areas with Mediterranean climate, namely Greece, Italy, France and Spain. Under these conditions, according to previous trials, the selected perennial herbaceous crops (cardoon, switchgrass, miscanthus, giant reed) complete their growing cycle and reach physiological maturity in successive periods of time.

While most information collected from previous trials referred to experimental –and consequently small scale - plots, where all works were carried out manually, the information generated in this project covers the establishment, cultivation and harvesting of all four perennial crops in large scale fields of 10 h approximately, using conventional equipment for planting and harvesting each crop.

It is worthwhile to mention here that this successive harvest is not effective in North European countries. In North European countries switchgrass, miscanthus and giant reed do not complete their growing cycle in the year and their senescence is not caused by their natural maturity, but by the autumn or winter killing frost. Therefore, their harvesting is done simultaneously for all the selected crops. In this case cardoon is not accounted, because it is a perennial herbaceous crop especially adapted to the Mediterranean climate.

The four selected crops were established in large-scale fields in Central Greece (by CRES), Italy (by UNIBO) and Spain (by UPM). The establishment, cultivation and harvesting of all four species were performed successfully using conventional agricultural methods. Yields of each crop varied considerably according to site and climate.

Informazioni correlate

Reported by

CRES – Center for Renewable Energy Sources, Biomass department
19th km Marathonos Ave,
190 09 Pikermi Attikis