3 September 2009

UK: Triticale – the More Efficient Energy Crop?

Lower greenhouse gas emissions than wheat

A study funded by the HGCA found that using tricale instead of wheat for bioethanol production could reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the overall biofuel process by almost 14%. “The lower nitrogen requirement of tricale is the main reason for its better performance on GHG emissions” states Richard Weightman, one of the authors of the report. This can save growers 70-80 kg/ha of N.

Triticale was shown to be a feedstock with high potential for bioethanol production, with a soft grain, giving alcohol yields comparable with Istabraq at equivalent grain protein contents (average 436 L/t DM at 11.5% grain protein). The ratio of conversion of starch to alcohol (6.44 L/10 kg starch) was relatively high compared to values seen previously for wheat.

In all scenarios studied, the net benefits in terms of reducing GHG emissions associated with bioethanol production, were greater for triticale than for wheat, principally due the lower N requirement of triticale. However, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the average grain protein content of triticale when fertilized at the economic optimum. The major advantage of triticale may be in 2nd/3rd cereal positions in the rotation when the yield of wheat tends to be reduced by take-all.

However, although Sweden, Canada and South Africa are all using tricale as a bioethanol feedstock, so far there has been little interest from bioethanol plants in the UK.

further information

Source: National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC), 2009-08 and HGCA, 2008-07.


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