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Conference abstract - Peer-reviewed, 2008

Sustainable production of biomass-for-energy

Prade, Thomas; Mattsson, Jan Erik


Crops4Biogas is a recently initiated research project at the Biotechnology unit, Lund University (LU), Sweden, with participation of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and the Environmental and Energy Systems Studies unit of LU. The project will evaluate seven energy crops for biogas production. The four main project parts are (1) crop rotation field trials for biomass production, (2) calculation of energy efficiency in the biomass production, (3) biogas potential of different conversion processes (at LU) and (4) system analysis of the complete production schemes (at LU). We investigate the sustainability of the production of agricultural biomass-for energy under Swedish conditions. Furthermore, storage, transport and biogas processing options are evaluated. The project focuses on the overall energy efficiency, greenhouse gas mitigation potential and economic feasibility. An energy crop rotation established in 2006 has seven crops (hemp, Jerusalem artichoke, wheat, triticale, sugar beet, maize, and ley crop). These crops are each fertilized with different urban organic fertilizers (biogas residues, dewatered sludge, and food compost) with and without mineral fertilizer complement in comparison to plots with 100% mineral fertilizer and plots without fertilizer. So far the field trials show no overall difference in biomass yields between complemented urban organic fertilized plots and plots with 100% mineral fertilizer. Furthermore, we found the same overall biomass yields for the plots fertilized with non-complemented biogas residue, suggesting that at least one of the three urban organic alternatives could replace mineral fertilizer. Such a replacement of mineral NPK fertilizer has the potential to significantly improve the energy efficiency of energy crop production. Our preliminary calculations show for example that mineral NPK fertilizer stands for 70% of the energy input in hemp biomass production. Other saving potentials for energy, emissions and costs may result from alternative scenarios of machinery use, production size and cropping system adjusted for energy crop production. Agricultural biomass is a promising source for the production of renewable fuels. However, few dedicated energy crops are currently commercially available in Sweden. This project aims at presenting sustainable scenarios for biogas production, for both stakeholders and farmers


energy crops; nutrient recycling; urban organic fertilizer; energy balance; energy efficiency

Published in

Aspects of Applied Biology
2008, number: 90, pages: 91
Book title: Biomass and Energy Crops III
Publisher: Association of Applied Biologists


Biomass and Energy Crops III

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Agrosystem
Mattsson, Jan Erik
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Agrosystem

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Renewable Bioenergy Research
Agricultural Science

URI (permanent link to this page)