Istituto di biometeorologia     
Monti A., Di Virgilio N., Venturi G. Mineral composition and ash content of six major energy crops. In: Biomass & Bioenergy, vol. 32 (3) pp. 216 - 223. Elsevier Ltd, 2008.
The chemical composition of biofuels has not received adequate attention given that it is an important aspect in the introduction of energy crops. In this study, the ash content and mineral composition (C, N, Al, Ca, Cl, Fe, K, Mg, Na, P, S, Si) of stems, leaves and reproductive organs of some promising energy crops were determined and compared with the respective recommended thresholds reported in literature. Overall, cynara exhibited the highest ash and mineral contents, which indicate high slagging, fouling and corrosion tendencies. However, cynara also showed the lowest Si content, both in leaves (4.3 g kg−1) and in stems (0.9 g kg−1). Sweet sorghum and giant reed exhibited the highest N content (up to 16 g kg−1), which greatly exceeded the recommended limits in leaves. Importantly, Cl always exceeded the recommended limits (up to 18 mg kg−1 in cynara), both in stems and in leaves, thus resulting in a major stumbling block for all crops. Several significant correlations among elements were found at a single plant part; conversely these correlations were generally very weak considering different plant components, with the exception of K (r=0.91**), P (r=0.94**) and ashes (r=0.64**). Generally, leaves resulted in a significant deterioration of biofuel quality when compared with stems and flower heads. Therefore, agricultural strategies aimed at reducing the leaf component (e.g. by delaying the harvest) may considerably improve the suitability of biofuels for current combustion plants.
DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2007.09.012
Subject Miscanthus
Giant reed

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