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The activities leading to these results have received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement nr.  289159.

WP 5 Improve biomass density and moisture content for more efficient storage and transportation

Lead-managed by Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom

The research agenda in this work package is set up to investigate approaches to overcome bottlenecks for large-scale commercial establishment, harvesting and utilization of biomass from currently used clones and from novel miscanthus hybrids. Efficient handling of harvest products and processability of biomass to convenient fuel formats and novel bio-products is also under investigation. Biomass characteristics along the production chain are studied to optimize harvest time, harvest technique, storage and transport efficiency, covering research work on
1. Identification of phenotypic variation in a) moisture content in green (summer / autumn) and brown (winter /spring) biomass.and b) biomass density (mass per volume)
2. Improving postharvest processing of biomass to increase density and homogeneity with pellets and compact bales.
3. Developing the OPTIMISC harvest sub-model (or module) to make recommendations on the optimum      harvest strategies.
Large-scale field trials were established in Blankney (UK) in 2012 and in DAZ (Ukraine) and UHOH (Germany) in 2013. Four novel miscanthus hybrids and one control M. x giganteus (5 x 1 ha) were planted in Blankney. Nearly 20,000 plantlets of each of the four novel seed-based hybrids were raised in modules at a commercial nursery. The control hybrid, M. × giganteus, was planted as rhizomes using commercial planters. A large-scale trial with genotype OPM-111 was setup at the end of May 2013 by the University of Hohenheim, Ihinger Hof (Germany) using a “Checci & Magli, 4 rows planter”. Nearly 13,000 plants were planted on an area of 0.6 ha. A large-scale trial with 2 novel hybrids and one control (total of 1.8 ha) was set up at the German Agrarian Center (DAZ) in Potash, Ukraine. Nearly 12,000 plantlets were planted by hand in three replicates blocks. The control hybrid, M. × giganteus, was planted as rhizomes. The Blankney large-scale trials showed 97% overwintering in spring 2013.
The main results of WP5 will be the development of a full agronomic procedure for commercial-scale establishment of new miscanthus hybrids, including planting, plant care and management, and improvement of harvest technologies and pelletizing options.



Large-scale trial established at German Agrarian Center (DAZ) in Ukraine in spring  2013.

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