Oklahoma State University


Miscanthus as a Biofuel Crop

The genus Miscanthus contains numerous tall-growing perennial species which originate in Asia and Africa.  Miscanthus giganteus is a clonal hybrid between M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus. This hybrid is high yielding and widely used in biomass production research. However, multiplication or reproduction using rhizomes of the hybrid is expensive and time consuming if it is used in a large scale with current technology.  Some other Miscanthus species are grown as ornamentals.

Miscanthus has been promoted to be burned, perhaps mixed with coal or used as a source of ethanol after cellulosic conversion.  Like switchgrass, Miscanthus is an unimproved perennial species that produces high yields of cellulose and requires little inputs.  Unlike switchgrass it is an introduced species and must be propagated by “planting” pieces of rhizomes.

High yields (in excess of 10 ton/acre) require abundant water and nutrients.  The exact amount of nutrients is unknown, but like switchgrass nutrients may be translocated from the leaves and stems to the crown and roots toward the end of the growing season.

This crop has great potential as a biofuel but much research must be conducted before it will be an important biofuel crop in the U.S.  As cellulosic dedicated crops are recognized as a future option to produce ethanol by advanced conversion technologies, the interests to develop seeded cultivars in Miscanthus has increased recently.

Web sites about Miscanthus as a biofuel crop:




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