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Nassi O Di Nasso N.,Instituto Of Science Della Vita | Nassi O Di Nasso N.,Cribe Centro Of Ricerca Interuniversitario Biomasse Da Energia | Roncucci N.,Instituto Of Science Della Vita | Bonari E.,Instituto Of Science Della Vita | Bonari E.,Cribe Centro Of Ricerca Interuniversitario Biomasse Da Energia
Italian Journal of Agronomy | Year: 2013

In the European Union energy security have been driving the search for economically viable and environmentally sustainable renewable energy sources since the 90's. Energy crops could represent a good opportunity to combine the energy goals with the conservation of farmer incomes and the global climate change control. Giant reed (Arundo donax L.) is a perennial rhizomatous grass particularly attractive for energy production because of a high yield potential, a generally positive environmental impact and a good attitude to energy conversion. Long-term studies carried out in Central Italy confirmed its high production level, in both fertile and marginal lands (aboveground yields from 38 to 20 t ha-1 year-1). In addition, the crop highlighted a high growth rate at the beginning of the growing season, progressively decreasing in summer when high temperature and low water availability occurred. Giant reed nutrient requirements were generally low and part of nutrient stocks were remobilized from the rhizome to the aboveground biomass over the spring, with the opposite flow occurring in autumn. From an environmental point of view giant reed showed a positive energy balance with a high-energy efficiency. Compared to other energy crops, giant reed showed the lowest GHG emissions per unit of energy and the best performance in terms of cost per ton of dry biomass or per unit of energy. To improve knowledge on giant reed and to favour the diffusion of energy crops in Italian cropping systems, further studies are needed to analyse the long-term effects of giant reed on soil fertility and the optimal soil management after its cultivation. In our researches the environmental impacts of giant reed and its production costs were referred to the production phase. Therefore, there is the need to extend the research activity to the whole energy chain and to identify the most sustainable conversion technologies (e.g. biogas, 2nd generation bioethanol, etc.) for the different environments. © N. Nassi o Di Nasso et al., 2013.

Nasso N.N.O.D.,Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies | Lasorella M.V.,Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies | Roncucci N.,Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies | Bonari E.,Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies | Bonari E.,Cribe Centro Of Ricerca Interuniversitario Biomasse Da Energia
Industrial Crops and Products | Year: 2015

Switchgrass is a promising perennial energy crop with a good potential under environmental limiting conditions. Although some studies have highlighted the different yields of lowland and upland cultivars in Mediterranean environments, only a few have explored the role of soil and different crop managements on switchgrass productive performances. For this reason, two field trials were carried out in central Italy to investigate the effect of soil texture (silty-clay-loam vs. sandy-loam soils), irrigation (rainfed vs. 75% restitution of the potential evapotranspiration) and nitrogen fertilization (0, 50 and 100kgNha-1) on the yield of two switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) cultivars: Alamo and Blackwell. Crop aboveground dry yields were monitored from the first to the fourth year of growth. Results highlighted cultivar as the most significant factor affecting crop yield. In fact, excluding the establishment year, aboveground dry yields in Alamo and Blackwell exceeded 30 and 15Mgha-1 respectively. Our results highlighted switchgrass to be able to achieve good yields under limiting conditions (i.e. sandy-loam soil, rainfed) as well. In addition, through the appropriate choice of the nitrogen fertilization, crop yields increased by 30%, while a supplementary water supply of about 300mm of water per year, during the dry summer period, was less effective in determining a significant increase in the harvestable dry yield. © 2014.

Biagini E.,University of Pisa | Barontini F.,University of Pisa | Barontini F.,Cribe Centro Of Ricerca Interuniversitario Biomasse Da Energia | Tognotti L.,Cribe Centro Of Ricerca Interuniversitario Biomasse Da Energia
Chemical Engineering Transactions | Year: 2014

Small size (1 MW) thermochemical plants producing electricity and heat are a convenient option for biomass-to-energy scenarios. It is required to improve these systems in terms of efficiency and flexibility, extending the feedstock specification and plant reliability. In this work the experimental results of the recent campaigns in the CRIBE gasification plant with out-of-specification feedstocks (pellets, vine prunings, rice husks, corn cobs, miscanthus) are described and discussed. The biomass properties are investigated and related to the technological operations and plant performance for defining the suitable ranges of their characteristics. The morphological parameters (size/shape), density, thermal and mechanical consistency of the material are crucial for the safe operation in the downdraft gasifier. The pretreaments (drying, size reduction, pelletization, mixing of different feedstocks) are necessary for operability and should be optimized considering the overall plant efficiency and costs. This will be evaluated with a process study. Copyright © 2014,AIDIC Servizi S.r.l.

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