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The study was aimed to evaluate the potential of existing genotypes of Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.) as biomass feedstock for ethanol production. We investigated the biomass productivity and chemical composition of twenty-six Jerusalem artichoke clones grown in a semi-arid region of China. Jerusalem artichoke was demonstrated to be a sustainable feedstock for bioethanol production. All structural and non-structural carbohydrates in whole plant of Jerusalem artichoke could be 5000 L/ha. The above-ground biomass of Jerusalem artichoke could be a promising feedstock for cellulosic ethanol. The ethanol potential yield from cellulose and hemicellulose in aboveground biomass were 1821 to 5930 L/ha, contributing 29.8-66.4% of the total ethanol yield, which could be as high as that from switchgrass and sweet sorghum stem. Large variation among the investigated genotypes for carbohydrates makes it possible to select suitable clones to be used in bioethanol production in semiarid regions. Clones HB-3, HEN-3, IM-1, SC-1, SHX-3, SX-2 and ZJ-2 yielded tuber total soluble sugar higher than 4.0 t/ha. Clones BJ-4, HUB-2, HUN-2, QH-1, SD-2 and SHH-1 produced more than 5.0 t/ha cellulose and hemicellulose in above-ground biomass. Clones BJ-4 and HUB-2 have the highest ethanol potential based on structural carbohydrates. These clones were promising material if used as biofuel feedstock in this growth condition.
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