In the European Union energy security have been driving the search for economically viable and environmentally sustainable renewable energy sources since the 90’s. Energy crops could represent a good opportunity to combine the energy goals with the conservation of farmer incomes and the global climate change control. Giant reed (Arundo donax L.) is a perennial rhizomatous grass particularly attractive for energy production because of a high yield potential, a generally positive environmental impact and a good attitude to energy conversion. Long-term studies carried out in Central Italy confirmed its high production level, in both fertile and marginal lands (aboveground yields from 38 to 20 t ha–1 year–1). In addition, the crop highlighted a high growth rate at the beginning of the growing season, progressively decreasing in summer when high temperature and low water availability occurred. Giant reed nutrient requirements were generally low and part of nutrient stocks were remobilized from the rhizome to the aboveground biomass over the spring, with the opposite flow occurring in autumn. From an environmental point of view giant reed showed a positive energy balance with a high-energy efficiency. Compared to other energy crops, giant reed showed the lowest GHG emissions per unit of energy and the best performance in terms of cost per ton of dry biomass or per unit of energy. To improve knowledge on giant reed and to favour the diffusion of energy crops in Italian cropping systems, further studies are needed to analyze the long-term effects of giant reed on soil fertility and the optimal soil management after its cultivation. In our researches the environmental impacts of giant reed and its production costs were referred to the production phase. Therefore, there is the need to extend the research activity to the whole energy chain and to identify the most sustainable conversion technologies (e.g. biogas, 2nd generation bioethanol, etc.) for the different environments.
|Titolo:||Giant reed (Arundo donax L.) as energy crop in Central Italy: A review|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo su Rivista/Article|