Wang, S. 2017. Biomass production potential, theoretical ethanol yield, environmental sustainability of Miscanthus x giganteus and nitrogen fertilizer effect on quantity and quality in five lignocellulosic biomass crops in north-central U.S. Thesis, Michigan State University, East Lansing MI.
Increasing concerns on climate change and energy security leads to growing emphasis has been placed on lignocellulosic ethanol industry in the U.S. Among many lignocellulosic feedstock crops, little information about long-term production and quality of giant miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus) is available in U.S. This study evaluated yield and quality parameters of giant miscanthus in southwest Michigan (KBS) and southcentral Wisconsin (ARL). An attributional life cycle assessment was also performed on giant miscanthus and switchgrass production phases by using empirical data. Nitrogen responses on yield and quality parameters were examined for five perennial bioenergy cropping systems: 1) switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.); 2) giant miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus); 3) a native grass mixture (5 species); 4) an early successional field; and, 5) a restored prairie (18 species). The highest yield of miscanthus reached 22.81 ± 1.023 Mg ha-1 at KBS and 15.7 ± 0.898 Mg ha-1 at ARL. Giant miscanthus exhibited a positive yield response to nitrogen fertilization at both KBS and ARL and had the highest nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency among five cropping systems evaluated in this study. Compared to switchgrass cropping system, the giant miscanthus cropping system is more favorable in GHG emissions reduction when taking gasoline displacement credits into account. Due to higher yield, giant miscanthus had higher energy return on investment than switchgrass at both KBS and ARL.
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