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Biomass production chain and growth simulation model for Kenaf

This RTD project will contribute to the implementation of three main European Union policies: the Common Agricultural Policy, the Agenda 2000 and the White Paper. As a result of these policies, the financial feasibility of non-food crops production will increase, but the diversification of land use and sustainability of farm incomes should also be ensured. Although kenaf has been accepted since 1993 by the EU as a high-yielding 'non-food crop' for fibre production, research has so far been focused strictly on its use for the paper/pulp industry; the yield potential of the crop has not been defined. Hardly any research has been directed towards the other industrial uses of the crop, as well as its energy exploitation potential, in spite of the favourable characteristics of kenaf feedstock and its high biomass yields. This project, with its integrated approach, aims to realise kenaf's sustainable yield potential, produce alternative industrial bio-products, as well exploiting kenaf as an energy source. A dynamic crop-growth simulation model will be developed, which will be a useful tool for predicting yields. An environmental and economic assessment will provide insight into the feasibility of kenaf for industrial and energy applications.

The overall objective of the project is to introduce and evaluate kenaf as a non-food crop for alternative land use that will provide diversified opportunities for farmers and will supply the bio-based industries of the future.
The overall goal will be achieved through the following specific objectives:
1) to determine the sustainable yielding potential of kenaf as a non-food crop in southern EU countries
2) to develop a dynamic crop growth simulation model for predicting kenaf yields
3) to evaluate the effect of harvest timing and storage methods on quality of raw material
4) to evaluate the suitability of kenaf both for selected industrial and energy applications
5) to carry out an environmental assessment and LCA, plotting scenarios for alternative land use
6) to conduct an economic evaluation of the whole production chain of the crop for alternative land use
7) to prepare a handbook and a booklet for kenaf
8) to establish links with the American Kenaf Society (AKS).

Progress to Date
Wide dissemination of the project results through conferences, seminars and web pages.
Evaluation of the adaptability and productivity of kenaf in all southern EU countries.
Crop growth simulation modelasa tool for yeilds prediction.
Determination of the appropriate harvesting time and techniques and storage methods.
Results of kenaf use for industrial and energy applications.
Environmental impact assessment, LCAand scenarios for alternative land use.
Cost of kenaf at farm and at plant gate and economic comparison with other conversional crops.


Scientist responsible for the project

Agricultural Engineer EFTHIMIA ALEXOPOULOU
19th km Marathonos Avenue
190 09 Pikermi Attikis
Greece - GR

Phone: +30 210 6603300
Fax: +30 210 6603301


Project ID QLRT-2001-01729
Area 5.2
Start date 04 January 2003
Duration (months) 42
Total cost 2 029 875 €
Total EC contribution   1 311 796 €
Status Ongoing

The partners

  • Centro di Ecologia Teorica ed Applicata - CETA, Italy - IT
  • Grupo de Disciplinas de Ecologia da Hidrosfera/Faculdade Deciências e Tecnologia/Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal - PT
  • Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Technologíaagraria y Alimentaria - INIA, Spain - ES

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