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Net Energy Balance and Fuel Quality of an Alley Cropping System Combining Grassland and Willow: Results of the 2nd Rotation (2021)

Dzene I., Hensgen F., Graß R., Wachendorf M.

Agronomy, 11 (7), 1272

doi:10.3390/agronomy11071272

Abstract

With the central aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, agroforestry systems have become popular because they can provide biomass for bioenergy conversion and thus help replace fossil energy. This article compares the net energy balances of three biomass conversion techniques for an agroforestry system consisting of willows and two types of grassland biomass as well as separate stands of grassland and willow. The period of investigation was the second willow rotation (4–6 years after establishment). The biomass conversion techniques included combustion of hay (CH), integrated generation of solid fuel and biogas from biomass (IFBB), and anaerobic whole crop digestion (WCD). Compared to the first rotation (years 1–3), the net energy yield of the willow stands significantly increased. Nevertheless, the separate stand of willow had higher net energy yield than the agroforestry system. The IFBB technique led to an improvement in solid fuel quality through demineralization. CH and IFBB provided higher net energy yields than WCD. SIGNAL