1. Introduction to Cellulosic Energy Crops

  1. Douglas L. Karlen
  1. Mark Laser and
  2. Lee Lynd

Published Online: 1 MAR 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118676332.ch1

Cellulosic Energy Cropping Systems

Cellulosic Energy Cropping Systems

How to Cite

Laser, M. and Lynd, L. (2014) Introduction to Cellulosic Energy Crops, in Cellulosic Energy Cropping Systems (ed D. L. Karlen), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118676332.ch1

Author Information

  1. Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, U.S.A.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAR 2014
  2. Published Print: 13 MAR 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781119991946

Online ISBN: 9781118676332



  • cellulosic biomass;
  • cellulosic energy crops;
  • photosynthesis


Plants have evolved three photosynthetic pathways, two of which are the C3 and C4 pathways. The energy crops discussed in Cellulosic Energy Cropping Systems, have either a C3 or C4 photosynthetic pathway. These crops include wheat straw, eucalyptus, miscanthus, switchgrass and sugarcane. In assessing the suitability of a biomass feedstock for a given conversion process, several material properties are important to consider, including: (i) moisture content; (ii) energy density; (iii) fixed carbon/volatile matter ratio; (iv) ash content; (v) alkali metal content; and (vi) carbohydrate/lignin ratio. The energy crops should have few inputs and low production costs, and should be easily establishable, having long life spans with low fertilizer, pesticide, and insecticide requirements. Cellulosic biomass energy potentially offers many environmental benefits that contribute to its sustainability.