Row Spacing Affects Biomass Yield and Composition of Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) as a Lignocellulosic Feedstock for Bioenergy


Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) is a warm-season annual. Kenaf fibers are commonly used for paper pulp and cordage, but it is also a promising lignocellulosic feedstock for bioenergy production, although optimum plant density for biomass production has not been determined for the northern region of the USA. The objective of this study was to determine the best plant density and row spacing of kenaf to maximize biomass yield and chemical composition for biofuel conversion. The experiments were conducted at Fargo and Prosper, ND, in 2010 and 2011. The experiment was a randomized complete block design with a split-plot arrangement where the main plot was tworowspacings (30 and60 cm) and the sub-plot fourplant densities (32, 16, 8, and 4 plants·m-2). Row spacing had a significant effect on both biomass and biofuel yield. Narrower rows had higher biomass and biofuel yield. Maximum biomass and estimated biofuel yield was obtained with the two highest plant densities of 16 and 32 plants·m-2 and fluctuated between 9.45 and 10.22 Mg·ha-1 and 1354 and1464 L·ha-1, respectively. Stem diameter increased with a decrease in plant density. Chemical composition varied with plant density; glucan (27%) and xylan (9.8%) content were lower at the lowest plant density. Ash content was not different among plant densities but it is interesting to mention the very low ash content of kenaf (0.15%). According to the results of this study, it is recommended to plant kenaf at 30-cm rows with a plant density of 16 to 32 plants·m-2 to maximize biomass yield. Kenaf has a tremendous potential as a cellulosic feedstock for biofuel and green chemicals in the Northern Great Plains because of high biomass yield and low ash content.

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Berti, M. , Kamireddy, S. and Ji, Y. (2013) Row Spacing Affects Biomass Yield and Composition of Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) as a Lignocellulosic Feedstock for Bioenergy. Journal of Sustainable Bioenergy Systems, 3, 68-73. doi: 10.4236/jsbs.2013.31009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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