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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354416

Research Project: The Effects of Water-Driven Processes on Sugarcane Production Systems and Associated Ecosystem Services in Louisiana

Location: Sugarcane Research

Title: Sugarcane biomass, dry matter, and sucrose availability and variability when grown on a bioenergy feedstock production cycle

Author
item White, Paul
item Webber Iii, Charles
item Viator, Ryan - Former ARS Employee
item Aita, Giovanna - Audubon Sugar Institute

Submitted to: BioEnergy Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/29/2018
Publication Date: 11/29/2018
Citation: White Jr, P.M., Webber III, C.L., Viator, R.P., Aita, G. 2018. Sugarcane biomass, dry matter, and sucrose availability and variability when grown on a bioenergy feedstock production cycle. BioEnergy Research. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12155-018-9951-y.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12155-018-9951-y

Interpretive Summary: Sugarcane is grown in 23 parishes in south Louisiana and generates over $2 billion in annual economic impact. Sugarcane is the source for various products, including sugar (sucrose), molasses, bagasse, boiler fly ash, filter press mud, water, and electricity. In the future, “green-technology” may exist that can make use of excess bagasse, leaf trash, or cane itself, perhaps converting it into liquid fuels, such as ethanol. Therefore, the objectives of this project were to determine the yields of a high-fiber sugarcane variety, Ho 02-113. Over the course of three years we measured how much sugarcane, sucrose, and dry material was produced. The highest yields observed during the experiment were 150 metric tons per hectare for sugarcane and 6,400 kilograms per hectare of sucrose. Once all water was removed, the dry material weighed, on average, about 30 metric tons per hectare. This amount roughly translates into about 200 gigajoules of energy per hectare per year, or about the amount needed to power one Louisiana home for 3 years.

Technical Abstract: Sugarcane grows on over 170,000 ha in the state of Louisiana as part of a sugar industry that generates over $2 billion in annual economic impact. The multipurpose crop produces sugar, molasses, bagasse, boiler fly ash, filter press mud, water, and electricity. As a component of a theoretical bioenergy economy, bagasse and sugarcane itself may find a value-added niche as a renewable feedstock source. The objectives were to 1) characterize growth conditions and yields of ‘Ho 02-113’ at two locations over two years; 2) report yields of energy, biomass, dry matter, Brix, and sucrose over time; and 3) compare yield components between bare stalks, without leaves and the growing point region (GPR), to intact stalks, to characterize the effects of two different harvest strategies. We observed highest biomass and sucrose yields in November (150 t ha-1) and December (6,400 kg ha-1), respectively. For intact stalks, biomass production was higher than 100 t ha-1 in 93% of the months sampled, and about 20 t ha-1 greater than stalks-only biomass. Sucrose yields were similar for both harvest strategies. Dry matter (DM) yield means exceeded 38 and 23 t DM ha-1 for intact stalks and stalks-only, respectively. Overall, observed Brix was lower than commercial sugarcane, with means between 9-11%. Calculated gross energy yields ranged from 160 to 320 and 100 to 200 GJ ha-1 y-1 for intact stalks and stalks-only, respectively. Results demonstrate that sugarcane is a versatile (sucrose and lignocellulosic) and high yielding biomass feedstock especially in areas with temperate to subtropical temperatures and abundant water resources.