BTOLA has completed the selection of a Biomass energy crop highly suited to Australian / Queensland conditions. The Biomass crop should ideally have the following characteristics
- Be high yielding (At least 40 tons of dry matter to the hectare)
- Be able to thrive with minimal chemical fertilizers on non-prime farming land
- Be tolerant to drought and heavy rains
- Be a perennial plant not requiring replanting every year
- Harvesting method should be highly mechanized requiring minimal labour.
- Be readily converted into energy in various forms
| Planting with conventional Sugar
Cane Planting equipment
|2 weeks after planting||6 weeks after planting|
BTOLA has identified such a crop in the form of a high yielding cane type perennial grass: Pennisetum Purpureum , this grass is often called by the following names:
- Elephant Grass
- Bana Grass
- Napier Grass
While not a native to Australia this plant has been introduced and is widely distributed though out Queensland usually to create windbreaks for conventional crops. At present it is not considered in itself as a commercial crop. The crop has the following advantages
- Highly drought tolerant due to a deep tap root
- Is extremely high yielding with yields of 75 ton/hectare substantiated in initial trials
- Is a perennial and does not need replanting after harvest
- Palatable to livestock (can be cut and baled for forage food)
- Is not invasive and only propagated by cane planting (as with sugar cane)
- Planted using conventional sugar cane planting equipment.
- Harvested using conventional cutting, conditioning and baling equipment.
|12 weeks after planting||9 Months after planting||Cut and baled ready for transport to plant|