Dedicated crops for advanced biofuels: Consistent and diverging agronomic points of view between the USA and the EU-27



A concise and up-to-date review has been undertaken to summarize consistent or diverging agronomic points of view on dedicated energy crops for advanced biofuels in the USA and the EU-27. The main purpose of this review is to discuss those crops where many agronomic constraints have been resolved, bringing them closer to large-scale production and commercialization. Where possible, examples of crop management practices that would enhance sustainability and energy yields are provided. The most promising crops and agronomic strategies for their production in the EU-27 and the USA are discussed. We also provide discussion of what the theoretically ideal characteristics of advanced biofuel crops might be. On both continents, understanding of management practices for switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus) as energy crops appears to be at an advanced stage. Two other widely considered energy crop candidates – sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) and reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) – have production and management guidelines that were developed for forage uses, but can be easily applied to biomass feedstock production. Giant reed (Arundo donax L.) has been developed as a bioenergy crop mainly in Europe. In the USA, giant reed is considered a noxious weed in many states, and its planting is prohibited. Establishing crop management practices that will be successful at a large scale and for the long term will help attract growers and investors to produce advanced biofuels, i.e. second-generation biofuels, which can help reduce our dependence on fossil energy sources. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd