Miscanthus combustion properties and variations with Miscanthus agronomy.


A study of the interaction of agronomy and its effects on fuel quality has been carried out for Miscanthus x giganteus grown in the UK through the UK’s SUPERGEN Bioenergy Consortium activities. Work on Miscanthus yield responses to N, K and S fertilizer will be reported elsewhere, and this study is focused on how fertilisers affected Miscanthus fuel quality. Six different fertiliser treatments were chosen to give interesting contrasts from the field experiment investigating yield responses; nitrogen (ammonium nitrate) at 0, 100, 150 and 250 kg N ha−1 in combination with potassium (K as KCl) at 50 kg K ha−1 and 150 kg N ha−1 also with zero K, and with 50 kg K ha−1 (K as K2SO4). A total of 270 samples were taken at five time points over the autumn and winter harvest window in each of the two growth years, 2005 and 2006. Results show that Miscanthus stems have better fuel quality than leaves, with much lower ash, N and S contents, and slightly higher C concentrations and hence higher estimated calorific value. The treatment without any N added into fertiliser seems to give a better fuel quality than other treatments considered in the study, resulting in a fuel with lower N, ash content, and a lower propensity to fouling (as indicated by the indices calculated from its ash analysis), and also higher C concentrations. In general, the late harvested Miscanthus samples have better fuel quality, with lower N, Cl, ash contents, alkali index and slightly higher C contents.

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