In the EU-projects OPTIMSC and MultiHemp promising miscanthus and hemp germplasm was identified for crop production suitable for various end uses. In OPTIMISC also a large number of genotypes were screened for various stress tolerances (e.g. frost, drought, salinity) which are key traits for good performance under marginal conditions. However, both projects worked on small trial plots and identified utilization options only at lab scale. Miscanthus or hemp varieties that are specifically suitable for marginal lands are not yet available. A major bottleneck for development of such varieties is the lack of information on their large scale performance. Therefore the next step to develop these biomass crops for the growing bioeconomy is to demonstrate the feasibility of upscaling their production. Cultivars also need to meet the quality requirements of the specific end uses. Based on knowledge gained by the projects OPTIMISC and MultiHemp, the biomass composition of the germplasm is largely known and can be matched to the specific end uses. However, the upscaling of these value chains with tailored germplasm is not yet proven and represents a bottle neck for their wider application. The objective of this project is to demonstrate 1) the upscaling of crop production of miscanthus and hemp genotypes matched to end use and 2) their suitability for marginal, contaminated and unused land. Another aim of the project is to demonstrate the upscaling of the most promising biomass valorization chains with tailored genotypes. Various valorization options will be tested by associated partners (industry panel) and a subset will be demonstrated at (pre)commercial scale. The overall aim of the project is to have commercial cultivars, which are suitable for marginal, contaminated or unused land, available at the end of the project with proven feasibility for a set of end-uses. This includes their performance in the value chain, but also their environmental and economic profile.
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 745012.