11 Nov 2012

Miscanthus potential as biofuel, feed crop investigated

9:30 am on 11 November 2012

The promoter of a relatively new biofuel crop to New Zealand says the perennial grass, miscanthus, has huge potential because of its multiple uses.

Miscanthus grows on a short rotation, is a sterile hybrid and can be harvested like grass.

The plant is grown in substantial quantities in the northern hemisphere and commonly burned for power generation. It is grown in only about 10 locations in New Zealand.

Miscanthus New Zealand Ltd managing director Peter Brown says he has started looking into the benefits of the plant as a livestock feed.

He says it matches up well against barley straw, having slightly higher protein and nitrogen levels and similar digestibility, and should make acceptable silage.

As a biofuel, he says, it can be used in most boilers that burn biomass of any sort, and can substitute for coal.