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Optimizing Miscanthus Biomass Production - OPTIMISC

GoTriple's project summary

Miscanthus is a C4 perennial rhizomatous grass that has become a leading candidate crop for production of lignocellulosic feedstocks due to its rapid biomass accumulation in temperate climates. There is currently a single commercial clone, M. x giganteus, which has a number of limitations. Research over the past 20 years has shown that a few key species and their interspecific hybrids have a high yield potential whilst requiring low inputs. The overall objective of this project is to optimize the miscanthus bioenergy and bioproduct chain by: trialling elite germplasm types over a range of sites across Europe, Ukraine and Russia; analysing the key traits that currently limit the potential of miscanthus; identifying high-value bioproducts; and modelling the combined results to provide recommendations to policy makers, growers and industry. The outcomes of the project will include screened germplasm and knowledge which will provide solutions to key existing bottlenecks. The specific topics tackled in the field and controlled environment trials are (1) dissection of the traits underpinning tolerance to the abiotic stresses drought, salinity, cold and freezing, (2) yield and quality in a wide range of environments, taking into consideration traits such as senescence, nutrient recycling and nutrient-use efficiency, (3) process-ability of biomass to convenient fuel formats and added-value products. Data gathered will be integrated through the development of modelling parameters needed to build up life-cycle analysis models and other decision support tools to identify optimum production scenarios in the EU, Ukraine and Russia. Recommendations will be provided to miscanthus developers on appropriate genotype selection, propagation and processing methods to maximize the environmental, economic and social benefits. The development of the full potential of miscanthus through OPTIMISC will contribute to Europe’s transition to a sustainable biobased economy.

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