Benefits

Miscanthus x giganteus (MxG) has a long list of advantages:

MxG is not invasive. It is a sterile perennial crop that can be grown and harvested for at least 20 years, once established, the crop provides an annual return to the grower
The annual yield once established may achieve between 20 and 30 tonnes per hectare or more at 20% moisture content.

The biomass is harvested dry, or at least much drier than SRC willow. Harvesting can be carried out by existing farm equipment such as mowers, balers and self-propelled forage maize harvesters.
The annual harvest could readily be carried out by contractors at a time when their equipment is not in use for any other purpose.

It requires little fertiliser, produces high yields and grows well on less fertile soils. No pests are known, which means that complex plant protection measures are not required. Pesticide use is not generally recommended for MxG.

Herbicides are recommended for the establishment year only. Once mature, the plants are more tolerant of weeds and canopy closure shades many weeds out. The application of chemical fertilizers is also not recommended.

Miscanthus Carbon Capture and Storage
One of the major drivers for growing Miscanthus x Giganteus is its potential for the reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. There are two mechanisms in which growing MxG as a source of renewable energy can offset carbon emissions.

Carbon mitigation:
• The energy content of MxG is approximately 19 MJ kg-1. One hectare produces the equivalent energy of 3,300 – 5,700 litres of light heating oil and an average medium sized house will burn around 3000 litres of oil per year, which releases 8 tonnes CO₂.
• Miscanthus is a carbon neutral fuel as carbon that is released during its combustion has been absorbed by the plants when they were growing.
• Greenhouse gas emissions from Miscanthus cultivation will be lower than those from other agricultural activities. This is due largely to lower amounts of fertilizer usage and the absence of animal-related emissions.

Carbon sequestration:
• Miscanthus can store (sequester) carbon preventing its release into the atmosphere. Sequestration occurs when the inputs of carbon dioxide are greater than removals from harvesting and decomposition.
• Carbon is stored in the rhizomes and roots of Miscanthus as well as in un-harvested stubble. In addition, an increase in soil carbon will occur if Miscanthus is planted into former tillage land.
• Experiments conducted in EU have shown that Miscanthus can store 8.8 — 9,4 tonnes of carbon per hectare in its roots and rhizomes 20 years into its life.
• The amount of carbon captured by Miscanthus can be further enhanced if plantations are used for the bioremediation of effluents and sludge’s.