What: biofuel
Where: Schiphol, Netherlands
Who: De Miscanthusgroep, DLG, municipality Hoofddorp, WUR en A4 Zone West
When: first crop in 2013
Source: Wageningenur

Elephant grass at Schiphol

It grows rapidly, has the same energy value as coal and can be cultivated underneath the flight paths of Schiphol, so that air traffic is less likely to be affected by geese. This is because these birds, which descend in droves to forage in and around Schiphol, do not like this particular crop. It is called miscanthus or elephant grass. In its raw form, this reed-like crop can be used as animal bedding or stove fuel, but once it has been processed it can also be made into building materials, paper, bioplastics and biofuels.

A joint plan was drawn up for the creation of test fields for rhizomes with variations in soil type, planting depth, planting density and frequency of spraying. A plan was also developed for miscanthus grown from seed. 15 ha was planted with the rhizome variant and 0.5 ha with the seed variant. Development and yield will be examined in 2013 and in subsequent years.

In December 2012 an agreement was concluded between farmers (the Miscanthus Group, an initiative by several enterprising farmers in the Haarlemmermeer area who see elephant grass as a promising crop in this new economy, alongside conventional agriculture), DLG, the municipality of Hoofddorp and A4 Zone West for the planting of 60 ha of miscanthus in the A4 Zone West area (around Schiphol) in spring 2013. Elephant grass can be combined with park-like landscaping, pavilions, other agricultural crops and also with the sale of local agricultural produce. In total, 142 hectares of A4 Zone West can be allocated, over a period of approximately thirty years. The location will be developed in phases, with the allocation of the first phase starting in 2014 (approx. 23 ha).