Miscanthus, or elephant grass, is a woody grass species originating from Southeast Asia. It also grows well in Europe due to the temperature and amount of rainfall. In fact, the plant can grow up to four meters tall here and once planted, can be harvested annually for 20-25 years.
Miscanthus is a so-called C4 plant and therefore very efficient in capturing CO₂ and, unlike C3 vegetation (which releases CO₂ at night), it converts all CO₂ into biomass without the use of fertilizers.
Therefore, Miscanthus captures more than four times as much CO₂ from the air as trees. This is why it grows quickly and has a high yield.
Miscanthus is a strong and dry plant when harvested. This means that it does not need an ensiling process and can be processed for further production immediately after harvest. Miscanthus is already used for bio-energy, bedding for livestock, and after processing, it is suitable for products such as paper or bio-composites.
The components that we refine from the crop with our unique process are of great value for sustainable supply chains. This includes highly demanded raw materials such as cellulose and lignin, which are widely used in the paper, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. These are applied in products such as asphalt, adhesives, cements, and tree-free paper.
The cultivation of miscanthus therefore serves many business areas and contributes to the accelerated sustainability of valuable raw materials such as lignin and cellulose.
Is miscanthus a miracle crop? We think it is! When grown correctly, there are actually no disadvantages to growing and cultivating miscanthus.
No weed control or other pesticides needed for mature grass
Fertilization and irrigation are not necessary for mature grass
Miscanthus is not invasive. It does not spread and does not pose a threat to theexisting indigenous vegetation
In addition to working with partners in the chemical industry, manufacturing industry, the construction sector, and with the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences for scientific research, we have close ties with LTO Bedrijven.
Farmers can participate in multi-year cultivation and thus realize carbon credits for CO₂ storage in the soil. This cooperation creates a well-functioning chain in which each party plays an important role.
Our credo is not surprisingly ‘Creating the value chains of tomorrow’
No, miscanthus is not considered invasive and does not pose a threat to adjacent land. It does not spread and does not cause harm to existing vegetation. In fact, it provides an ideal shelter for insects, spiders, birds, and small wildlife due to the height and density of the crop, which contributes to above-ground biodiversity. Beneath the surface, the crop provides self-fertilization and soil enrichment, which improves soil biodiversity and prevents drying out and erosion.
Miscanthus can be harvested once a year 2 years after planting. The costs of ground preparation, purchase of rhizomes, planting, weed control and possibly watering are approximately €3,500 in the first year.
In the Netherlands, it yields 15-20 tons, depending on the soil type. Clay and peat soils perform well immediately. It takes a few years for poorer soils to improve, as the crop itself contributes to enrichment.
The grower receives CO₂ credits because miscanthus helps to store CO₂ in the soil. The resulting CO₂ credits are worth approximately €250 per hectare (prices January 2023).
The gross annual yield, depending on the yield per hectare, is €2,100 to €2,800 (at the current price – January 2023 – of €140 per ton). In addition, the grower receives carbon credits of approximately €250 per hectare.
Do you want to know more about miscanthus and the possibilities of cultivation and sales area? Then please contact us. We are happy to tell you more about it.