Scientists have confirmed that Miscanthus [elephant grass], long speculated to be the top biofuel producer, yields more than twice as much as switchgrass in the U.S. using an open-source bioenergy crop database….
To understand yield trends and variation across the country for our major food crops, extensive databases are available…” said lead author Stephen Long … [of the] University of Illinois. “But there was nowhere to go if you wanted to know about biomass crops, particularly those that have no food value such as Miscanthus, switchgrass, willow trees, etc.”
To fill this gap, researchers at the Energy Biosciences Institute at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology created BETYdb, an open-source repository for physiological and yield data that facilitates bioenergy research. The goal of this database is not only to store the data but to make the data widely available and usable.
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To demonstrate the database’s value, researchers used BETYdb to definitively establish that Miscanthus is 2.4 times more productive than Switchgrass in the U.S. under a wide range of environmental and management conditions (e.g. fertilization rates, stand ages, planting densities), as reported in Global Change Biology Bioenergy.
More information: Global Change Biology Bioenergy, DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12420
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