Miscanthus giganteus

Miscanthus × giganteus , giant miscanthus , [1] is a large, perennial grass hybrid of Miscanthus sinensis and Miscanthus sacchariflorus . This full sun plant grows at 8-12 ft (240-360 cm) in areas 5 – 9. [2] [3]


M. × giganteus is a C4 plant , and thus exhibits greater photosynthetic efficiency and lower water use requirements than other types of plants. [4] It has very low nutritional requirements – it has high efficiency and is capable of growing well with the aid of heavy fertilization. M. × giganteus is a sterile hybrid and therefore propagates vegetatively underground through its rhizomes. [5] Additional researched benefits of M. × giganteus include its ability to sequester carbon into the earth. [6]



It is currently used in the European Union as a commercial energy crop , as a source of heat and electricity, and converted into biofuel products such as ethanol . [7]

Research trials being white Conducted in the United Kingdom, United States and Ireland are making strides Towards Developing Miscanthus x giganteus as a source of biomass for the generation of energy for Either directly through combustion or cellulosic ethanol or other biofuel production. [8] Miscanthus is grown in Europe Mainly for cofiring in coal power generating facilities, and Could Supply 12% of the EU’s energy need by 2050. [9] In the United States, SunBelt Biofuels founder Phillip Jennings HAS Worked with Mississippi State’s Brian Baldwin to develop a more effective, marketable Miscanthusgrass strain. Renewables, dubbed “FREEDOM Giant Miscanthus”, [10] The American Partnership for Foreign Oil ).

In a significant development for the large scale manufacture of this energy crop, Aloterra Energy LLC Was approved by the USDA in 2011 to manage oven Miscanthus × giganteus energy crop projects under a 2008 Farm Bill program named the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). citation needed ] [11] [12] These projects are being operated by Aloterra Energy LLC and MFA Oil Biomass LLC (a partnership between Aloterra Energy LLC and MFA Oil Company). Each BCAP Project Area is projected to establish 50,000 acres of Miscanthus to initially convert into solid fuel pellets. [13]As technologies develop, their miscanthus will be used to create renewable liquid fuels and biobased chemicals and products. As part of the USDA BCAP program, Aloterra Energy and MFA Oil Biomass are working together on an initial planting of approximately 18,000 acres of miscanthus in 2012. [14]

Carbon Sequestration and Seasonal Fluxes

Miscanthus has the potential to sequester carbon in the soil. Sequestered carbon refers to atmospheric carbon that has been stored as living or dead organic matter. Plants sequestering carbon by in-taking atmospheric CO2 and assimilating it as plant tissue, leaves or roots, and sharing with its microbial partners in the soil, [6] or above the soil as leaf litter or other dead plant matter. [15] Clifton-Brown et al. 2007 reports a sequestration of 0.6 t C per ha per year. This carbon sequestering adds to the fossil fuel offset to give the offset of Miscanthus as a bioenergy crop.

The seasonal soil gas flows show the emissions from the land under different crops, climate patterns and management practices. This is the way that sequestered carbon returns to the atmosphere. [16] Clifton and. al. studied Miscanthus for 16 years in southern Ireland. [6]They have been determined for the ratio of 13C / 12C in the top 30 cm of soil. They have been determined over 15 years to be 8.9 +/- 2.4 t C per hectare per year. To be able to evaluate the C sequestration potential for any agricultural management system, the seasonal C fluxes should be considered. The low fertilizer, pesticide, and water requirements of Miscanthus means that the emissions associated with such typical agricultural processes are avoided. Miscanthus is a perennial grass, which allows it to be avoided that destroys soil structures and emits soil carbon. [17] Other environmental issues that are caused by fertilizer run-off are also avoided. [18]If the land under the name of a farmer or farmer, he is a convert to a low-input alternative. [19] Carbon dynamics are important if a system would be widely used because of GHGs.

Plastics and Nanocellulose

Manufacturers Such As AgriKinetics, NNRGY Crops, and Aloterra ares currently exploring the possibility of using Miscanthus grass as input for plastics and other products traditionally constructed from petroleum fuels, trees or land resources (for example limestone ).


Miscanthus × giganteus is also used as a high-quality bedding typically for equine applications. Miscanthus has a very high C: N ratio making it inhospitable to many microbes thus creating a very clean and antibacterial bedding. [20]

Game Crop / Cover Crop

Miscanthus × giganteus is also used as a cover crop providing shelter for game birds such as pheasants and partridges the advantage being that they do not need to be replanted annually as other crops such as corn or sugar beet do. [21] It can also be used as a biofuel supplement.

Comparative Yields in production of Ethanol

Giant Miscanthus is capable of producing 13.2 tons per acre of biomass and 1198 gallons of ethanol fuel. [22]

Comparison to Food Crop Based Ethanol

A typical acre of corn or maize yields 7.6 tons of biomass per acre and 756 gallons of ethanol. [22]

A typical acre of Sugar Beets (France) yields 714 gallons per acre. [23]

A typical acre of Sugarcane (Brazil) yields 662 gallons per acre. [23]

There are some concerns about using food crops to produce ethanol, as we are creating fuel from a product that could be used to feed people or livestock. When market forces change, it can fluctuate wildly.

Comparison to Cellulosic Ethanol

Ethanol from both trees and grass can have a higher energy balance than maize or sugar cane. [23] [24] Fast growing trees such as these can result in a yield of 15 tons of biomass per acre or 2,000 gallons of ethanol per acre. [25]Switchgrass , which yields between 2.8 to 11.5 tons of biomass per acre can create as much as 1,150 gallons of ethanol fuel per acre. [23] [26] [27]

Funding and research

Large colleges, such as the University of Illinois , Mississippi State University and University of Georgia have committed several years and large portions of money to studying ethanol production in general. Along the way, some, such as UI, Michigan State University , and the University of Wisconsin have all researched the benefits of Miscanthus grass as an ethanol feedstock. One such program is the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) led by the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University. Recently, with the addition of Dr. Emily Heaton, Iowa State University has also increased their research into Miscanthus ×giganteus . Dr. Heaton’s lab focuses on producing energy crops. [28]

On June 15, 2011, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and US Senator Roy Blunt announced a pilot program to produce miscanthus in Missouri . [29]


  1. Jump up^ ” Miscanthus giganteus ” . Natural Resources Conservation ServicePLANTS Database. USDA . Retrieved 13 July 2015 .
  2. Jump up^ “Miscanthus ‘Giganteus’ – Giant Chinese Silver Grass” . Bluestem Nursery . Retrieved 8 August 2017 .
  3. Jump up^ “Heritage Giant Miscanthus” . Fox Hollow Farms . Retrieved 8 August2017 .
  4. Jump up^ “Cold Tolerance of C4 Photosynthesis in Miscanthus × Giganteus: Adaptation in Amounts and Sequence of Photosynthetic C4 Enzymes.” Plant Physiology 132, (2003): 1688-1697.
  5. Jump up^ Iris Lewandowski, John Clifton-Brown, Jonathon Scurlock, and Willem Huisman, “Miscanthus: European Experience with a Novel Energy Crop,” Biomass & Bioenergy 19, no. 4 (2000): 210.
  6. ^ Jump up to:c Clifton-Brown, John Joern Breuer and Michael Jones. “Carbon Mitigation by the Energy Crop, Miscanthus.” Global Change Biology 13, no. 11 (2007): 2296-307.
  7. Jump up^ “Miscanthus” . Bioenergy Feedstock Information Network . Archived from the original on 2006-10-11.
  8. Jump up^ National Non-Food Crops Center. “NNFCC Crop Factsheet: Miscanthus”. Retrieved on 2011-02-17.
  9. Jump up^ Dondini M, Hastings A, Saiz G, MB Jones, Smith P (2009) The potential ofMiscanthusto sequester carbon in soils: comparing field measurements in Carlow, Ireland to model predictions. Global Change Biology Bioenergy. 1-6, 413-425.
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  11. Jump up^ “Archived copy” . Archived from the original on 2016-03-03 . Retrieved 2012-01-07 .
  12. Jump up^ “Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP)” . FSA . Archived fromthe original on 4 February 2012.
  13. Jump up^ “BCAP Project Areas Listing” . FSA . Archived from the original on 6 March 2013.
  14. Jump up^ “Next Generation Agribusiness (main page)” . Aloterra . Retrieved 8 August 2017 .
  15. Jump up^ Heaton, EA et al. (2009) Seasonal nitrogen dynamics of Miscanthus × giganteus and Panicum virgatum. GCB Bioenergy 1, 297-307
  16. Jump up^ Schlesinger, WH and Andrews, JA Soil breathing and the global carbon cycle. Biogeochemistry 48, 7-20
  17. Jump up^ Reicosky, D. (2006) Tillage and Gas Exchange. Encyclical. Soil Sci. DOI: 10.1081
  18. Jump up^ Christian, DG et al. (2008) Growth, yield and mineral content of Miscanthus × giganteus grown as a biofuel for 14 successive harvests. Ind. Crops Prod. 28, 320-327
  19. Jump up^ 1 Drewer, J. et al. (2012) How do soil emissions of N2O, CH4 and CO2 from perennial bioenergy crops differ from arable annual crops? Glob. Change Biol. Bioenergy 4, 408-419
  20. Jump up^ Eiland, F .; Leth, M .; Klamer, M .; Lind, A.-M .; Jensen, HEK; Iversen, JJL (2001). “C and N Turnover and Lignocellulose Degradation During Composting of Miscanthus Straw and Liquid Pig Manure” . Compost Science & Utilization . 9 (3): 186-196. doi : 10.1080 / 1065657X.2001.10702035 .
  21. Jump up^ “Keeping the balance: Game cover crops: Christopher Bright of NGO sponsor, Bright Seeds, suggests how to grow successful game crops”(PDF) . The National Gamekeepers Organization . 2013 . Retrieved 8 August 2017 .
  22. ^ Jump up to:b Heaton, Emily A .; Dohleman, Frank G .; Long, Stephen P. (2008). “US meeting biofuel goals with less land: the potential of Miscanthus”. Global Change Biology . 14 (9): 2000-2014. doi : 10.1111 / j.1365-2486.2008.01662.x . ISSN  1354-1013 .
  23. ^ Jump up to:d Roberts, David (8 February 2006). “What’s the most energy-efficient crop source for ethanol?” . Grist . Retrieved 8 August 2017 .
  24. Jump up^ “Woodstock revisited: Could new techniques for ethanol production make old-fashioned trees the biofuel of the future?” . The Economist . March 8, 2007 . Retrieved 8 August 2017 .
  25. Jump up^ Chambers, Nick (24 July 2009). “2,000 Gallons of Low-Cost Ethanol Per Acre Made From Wood” . Gas 2 . Retrieved 8 August 2017 .
  26. Jump up^ “Switchgrass Production for Biomass (Research Brief # 51)” . Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems . January 2001 . Retrieved 8 August2017 .
  27. Jump up^ “Energy Crops – Sugar from Cellulosic Biomass – 2.7 pounds of sugar contains as much energy as 1 pound of crude oil” . American Energy Independence . Retrieved 8 August 2017 .
  28. Jump up^ “HeatonLabgroup main site” . sites.google.com . Archived from the original on 2011-05-06.
  29. Jump up^ Letner, Josh (15 June 2011). “Southwest Missouri selected site for biofuels project” . The Joplin Globe . Archived from the original on 14 March 2012.