Liquid biofuel energy crops
These crops are grown for the production of liquid transport fuels. Different conversion techniques are used to produce biodiesel, bioethanol and biomethanol. Biodiesel is derived from oil crops such as oilseed rape and camelina (an oil-seed crop with an oil yield similar to that of oilseed rape). Bioethanol is produced from crops such as wheat, sugarbeet, sweet sorghum and woody crops. Research on the production of biomethanol from various biomass sources such as grasses, short rotation forestry, crop residues and municipal solid waste is ongoing. Liquid biofuels can be incorporated as blends with petrol/diesel fuels or used on their own as a replacement fuel.
Hemp and miscanthus
Other energy crops such as hemp and miscanthus (elephant grass) have been investigated for their suitability as a source of biomass fuel. Cultivation of hemp has the advantage in that being an annual plant, farmer’s experience of dealing with annual tillage crops could easily be applied to it and existing farming machinery used for harvesting etc.
Download Miscanthus Best Practice Guide 2010 - Teagasc and Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland