Agronomic aspects of future energy crops in Europe

W.E. Zegada-Lizarazu, H.W. Elbersen, S.L. Cosentino, A. Zatta, E. Alexopoulou, A. Monti

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    104 Citations (Scopus)


    The recent policies enacted by the EU foresee an increased interest in the cultivation of energy crops. Hence systematized information on new energy crops and cropping strategies is necessary to optimize their production quantitatively and qualitatively and to integrate them into traditional production systems. This kind of information will offer farmers new perspectives and options to diversify their farming activities. Some of these crops, however, may compete for land and resources with existing food crops, while others could be grown in marginal/degraded lands with consequent beneficial effects on the environment. Therefore choosing the appropriate management components and species should be site specific and oriented to minimize inputs and maximize yields. In some cases, traditional food crops are used as dedicated energy crops with the advantage that their management practices are well known. On the other hand, the management of new dedicated energy crops, such as perennial herbaceous crops, often demands a range of structural features and tactical management approaches that are different to those commonly used for traditional food crops. Most of these crops are largely undomesticated and are at their early stages of development and improvement. In this work, state-of-the-art research and development of agronomic management and the production of a wide range of multipurpose future energy crop species are reviewed and where possible examples of appropriate crop management practices that would enhance energy yields are provided. Interesting lines of investigation are also suggested.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)674-691
    JournalBiofuels Bioproducts and Biorefining
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • cannabis-sativa l.
    • mustard brassica-carinata
    • short-rotation coppice
    • life-cycle assessment
    • willow biomass crops
    • arundo-donax l.
    • sweet sorghum
    • ethanol-production
    • eucalyptus-globulus
    • ethiopian mustard

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