Efficient biofuel production from traditional maize under low input

C. Serrano, E. Monedero, H. Portero, E. Jiménez, B. Ordás

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditional crop varieties are adapted to low inputs of fertilizers, pesticides, and water. In addition, biofuel from local vegetal biomass stimulates the economy in depressed rural areas. Biofuels also contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Here, we tested the suitability of traditional maize varieties as solid biofuel. We cultivated traditional maize varieties without pesticides and irrigation. Four varieties were cropped in two locations, with two fertilization levels, and harvested at three different dates. For each trait, we measured the heating value, the ash content, and the elemental composition. Results show that plants harvested at physiological maturity, 150 days after sowing, have about 10 % more biomass and 20–30 % less ash, N, K, and Cl than plants harvested 115 days after sowing. Moreover, reducing standard N input by 40 % did not reduce the biomass yield. Calculations show that traditional maize varieties can produce an energy of 15–23 · 104 MJ/ha. These findings demonstrate that traditional maize cultivation can be optimized to increase the efficiency of biomass production and to reduce the environmental impact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561–567
JournalAgronomy for Sustainable Development
Early online date14 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


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