Switchgrass and Giant Reed Energy Potential when Cultivated in Heavy Metals Contaminated Soils

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Abstract

The cultivation of energy crops on degraded soils contributes to reduce the risks associated with land use change, and the biomass may represent an additional revenue as a feedstock for bioenergy. Switchgrass and giant reed were tested under 300 and 600 mg Cr kg−1, 110 and 220 mg Ni kg−1, and 4 and 8 mg Cd kg−1 contaminated soils, in a two year pot experiment. Switchgrass yields (average aerial 330 g.m−2 and below ground 430 g.m−2), after the second year harvest, were not affected by Cd contamination and 110 mg Ni kg−1, but 220 mg Ni kg−1 significantly affected the yields (55–60% reduction). A total plant loss was observed in Cr-contaminated pots. Giant reed aboveground yields (control: 410 g.m−2), in the second year harvest, were significantly affected by all metals and levels of contamination (30–70% reduction), except in 110 mg Ni kg−1 pots. The belowground biomass yields (average 1600 g.m−2) were not affected by the tested metals. Contamination did not affect the high heating value (HHV) of switchgrass (average 18.4 MJ.kg−1) and giant reed aerial fractions (average 18.9 MJ.kg−1, stems, and 18.1 MJ.kg−1, leaves), harvested in the second year, indicating that the biomass can be exploited for bioenergy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5538
Number of pages28
JournalEnergies
Volume15
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Arundo donax
  • contaminated soils
  • heavy metals
  • low ILUC crops
  • Panicum virgatum
  • phytoremediation

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