Tag Archives: Energy crop

2146-2155 E. Pannacci and S. Bartolini
Effect of nitrogen fertilization on sorghum for biomass production
Abstract |
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Effect of nitrogen fertilization on sorghum for biomass production

E. Pannacci* and S. Bartolini

University of Perugia, Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Borgo XX Giugno, 74, IT06121 Perugia, Italy
*Correspondence: euro.pannacci@unipg.it

Abstract:

Two field experiments were carried out in 2005 and 2006 in central Italy in order to evaluate the effects of different nitrogen (N) application rates (0, 50 100 and 150 kg ha-1) on flowering date, plant height, biomass production and partitioning (leaves, panicles and stems) and biomass quality of a sorghum hybrid (H133). Sorghum showed a high potential in terms of biomass production without N fertilization (18.5 t ha-1 of d.m. in 2005 and 26.6 t ha-1 of d.m. in 2006). The rate that maximized the biomass production was 100 kg ha-1 of N, increasing the biomass dry weight by 23.8% in 2005 and 18.8% in 2006, with respect to unfertilized sorghum; higher N rates are not advisable in order to avoid increasing fertilization costs and environmental impact without benefit of greater biomass production. The two highest N rates when combined with low water availability appeared to increase the rate of plant development, causing earlier flowering and increasing the percentage of panicles in total biomass. Higher heating value (HHV), lower heating value (LHV) and ash concentration of biomass varied among N rates, with values of HHV and LHV lower for unfertilized sorghum (17.6 and 16.7 MJ kg-1 d.m., respectively) than when N was applied (from 19.0 to 19.7 and from 18.1 to 18.8 MJ kg-1 d.m., respectively); on the contrary, ash concentration was greater for unfertilized sorghum (7.5% d.m.) than for fertilized sorghum (from 5.8 to 6.7% d.m.). This research showed the high potential of sorghum in terms of biomass production also when cultivated with limited irrigation and fertilization inputs. The biomass dry yield obtained by one hectare of sorghum crop without N nitrogen fertilization (i.e. 22.6 t ha-1 of d.m., average of 2005 and 2006 values) produces the same energy, by thermal utilisation, of 9.3 toe, that is equivalent to energy produced by 10,385 L of diesel fuel or 11,097 m3 of methane fuel. This aspect increases the certainty of the energetic and environmental sustainability of sorghum crop.

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445-452 V. Scholz, J. Kern and P. Kaulfuß
Environmental effects of energy crop cultivation – results of a long-term field trial
Abstract |

Environmental effects of energy crop cultivation – results of a long-term field trial

V. Scholz¹, J. Kern² and P. Kaulfuß³

¹Leibniz-Institute for Agricultural Engineering Potsdam-Bornim (ATB), Max-Eyth-Allee 100, D-14469 Potsdam, Germany, e-mail: vscholz@atb-potsdam.de
²Postal address above, e-mail: jkern@atb-potsdam.de
³Postal address above, e-mail: pkaulfuss@atb-potsdam.de

Abstract:

In order to identify crop species for sustainable energy farming it is necessary to determine the significance of genetic, environmental and growing-technical factors. Therefore, in 1994 a  long-term practically oriented field experiment on a sandy soil was established to investigate ten annual and perennial plant species and the effects of different N-fertilisation. The measuring programme includes yields, energy gain, N2O emissions as well as ecologically relevant plant and soil constituents. The results of this 15-year trial confirm the possibility of ecological and energy-efficient production of various energy crop species.

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