Potential of miscanthus grasses to provide energy and hence reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Astley Hastings, J. C. Clifton-Brown, Martin Wattenbach, Paul Stampfl, C. P. Mitchell, Pete Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Using bio-fuels, such as bio-ethanol or bio-diesel in transportation, or biomass in power generation reduces CO2 emissions as the carbon is fixed by the plants from the atmosphere and saves the equivalent fossil fuel. The perennial rhizomatous C4 grass Miscanthus has one of the highest energy intensities per hectare of land in Europe. Here we model the future potential of Europe to produce Miscanthus with four different future land use and climate change scenarios and conclude that up to 17% of Europe's current primary energy consumption could be provided by this bio-energy crop by the year 2080 but that inter-annual variation of crop yield can be more than 20%. We conclude that that the highest greenhouse gas mitigation from bio-energy can be achieved by growing a Miscanthus crop on existing fertile and degraded arable land and not on land with a currently undisturbed ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-472
Number of pages8
JournalAgronomy for Sustainable Development
Issue number4
Early online date13 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2008


  • energy crop
  • biofuel
  • bioenergy
  • Climate change
  • modeling
  • Miscanthus
  • Greenhouse gas emissions


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