In order to evaluate the possibility of reducing energy input in giant reed (Arundo donax L.) as a perennial biomass crop, a field experiment was carried out from 1996 to 2001 in central Italy. Crop yield response to fertilisation (200–80–200 kg ha−1 N–P–K), harvest time (autumn and winter) and plant density (20,000 and 40,000 plants per ha) was evaluated. The energy balance was assessed considering the energy costs of production inputs and the energy output obtained by the transformation of the final product. The crop yield increased by +50% from the establishment period to the 2nd year of growth when it achieved the highest dry matter yield. The mature crop displayed on average annual production rates of 3 kg dry matter m−2, with maximum values obtained in fertilised plot and during winter harvest time. Fertilisation mainly enhanced dry matter yield in the initial period (+0.7 kg dry matter m−2 as years 1–6 mean value). The biomass water content was affected by harvest time, decreasing by about 10% from autumn to winter. With regard to plant density, higher dry matter yields were achieved with 20,000 plants per ha (+0.3 kg dry matter m−2 as years 1–6 mean value). The total energy input decreased from fertilised (18 GJ ha−1) to not fertilised crops (4 GJ ha−1). The higher energetic input was represented by fertilisation which involved 14 GJ ha−1 (fertilisers plus their distribution) of total energy costs. This value represents 78% of total energy inputs for fertilised crops. Giant reed biomass calorific mean value (i.e. the calorific value obtained from combustion of biomass sample in an adiabatic system) was about 17 MJ kg−1 dry matter and it was not affected by fertilisation, or by plant density or harvest time. Fertilisation enhanced crop biomass yield from 23 to 27 dry tonnes per hectare (years 1–6 mean value). This 15% increase was possible with an energy consumption of 70% of the overall energy cost. Maximum energy yield output was 496 GJ ha−1, obtained with 20,000 plants per hectare and fertilisation. From the establishment period to 2nd–6th year of growth the energy production efficiency (as ratio between energy output and energy input per ha) and the net energy yield (as difference between energy output and energy input per ha) increased due to the low crop dry biomass yield and the high energy costs for crop planting. The energy production efficiency and net energy yield were also affected by fertilisation and plant density. In the mature crop the energy efficiency was highest without fertilisation both with 20,000 (131 GJ ha−1) and 40,000 plants per ha (119 GJ ha−1).
|Autori:||ANGELINI L.G.; CECCARINI L.; BONARI E.|
|Titolo:||Biomass yield and energy balance of giant reed (Arundo donax L.) cropped in central Italy as related to different management practices|
|Anno del prodotto:||2005|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.eja.2004.05.004|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|