Employees of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ICG) proposed to grow on an industrial scale the tropical plant Miscanthus rich in cellulose. Pulp can be obtained from wood, but conifers take a long time to grow. Miscanthus, on the other hand, is essentially a herb, so it is easier to handle and grow.
Miscanthus is a perennial herb from the genus of cereals that grows in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Russian scientists have been trying for many years to develop their own frost-resistant variety of this plant.
“It grows in the Far East, large thickets are represented by two species: Chinese and sugar-flowered. This is an ornamental cereal that is grown in botanical gardens. Miscanthus giant is an industrial plant that grows up to 4 meters in height. Large plantations have also been established in Europe, and interest in it has increased. Miscanthus is a potentially invasive plant, but we have a short summer, not all plants bloom and have time to give seeds. In Novosibirsk, work is underway to acclimatize miscanthus in Siberia. I hope that miscanthus will reduce the price of cellulose, ”said Vladimir Chub, director of the Moscow State University Botanical Garden.
Siberian scientists took the Far Eastern plant variety (Chinese) as a basis. As a result, they managed to adapt their own variety to frost, which was named “Soranovsky” (from the abbreviation SB RAS). Not so long ago he ran into the experimental field of the institute.
Scientists’ interest in miscanthus is associated with its high content of cellulose, which is used as a substitute for cotton. You can make dishes from grass, and after processing – viscose fabric, paints and varnishes, biofuels, and even aircraft and car hulls.
“Potentially about replacing titanium in aircraft and automobile manufacturing with organic materials has been talked about for a long time. In theory, this can be achieved with miscanthus. But this is a promising direction. Now it is more realistic to process cellulose into various types of fuel, for example, ethanol, and then into biodegradable plastics, ”the expert added.
If scientists succeed in implementing their plans, then this will reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by 8%, CO2 is emitted during steel production.
A small enterprise for processing miscanthus may appear in Novosibirsk.
“Besides the economic profit, the cultivation and production of miscanthus has a positive impact on the environment. A processing plant can create a so-called carbon farm. This is a densely planted area where carbon dioxide is absorbed in large volumes. Also, products made from miscanthus cellulose have the prospect of replacing some products of heavy industry, due to the production of which the ecological situation is deteriorating, “- noted in the publication” Science in Siberia “.
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