Industrial hemp as a potential bioenergy crop in comparison with kenaf, switchgrass and biomass sorghum

Lalitendu Das, Enshi Liu, Areej Saeed, David W. Williams, Hongqiang Hu, Chenlin Li, Allison E. Ray, Jian Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


This study takes combined field trial, lab experiment, and economic analysis approaches to evaluate the potential of industrial hemp in comparison with kenaf, switchgrass and biomass sorghum. Agronomy data suggest that the per hectare yield (5437 kg) of industrial hemp stem alone was at a similar level with switchgrass and sorghum; while the hemp plants require reduced inputs. Field trial also showed that ∼1230 kg/ha hemp grain can be harvested in addition to stems. Results show a predicted ethanol yield of ∼82 gallons/dry ton hemp stems, which is comparable to the other three tested feedstocks. A comparative cost analysis indicates that industrial hemp could generate higher per hectare gross profit than the other crops if both hemp grains and biofuels from hemp stem were counted. These combined evaluation results demonstrate that industrial hemp has great potential to become a promising regional commodity crop for producing both biofuels and value-added products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-649
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreements No. 1355438 and 1632854 , and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hatch-Multistate project under accession number 1003563 . The information reported in this paper (17-05-080) is part of a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the Director. HH, CL, and AER thank the funding from United States Department of Energy, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office, under DOE Idaho Operations Office Contract DE-AC07-05ID14517, and Rachel Emerson and Sergio Hernandez for technical assistance. We also express appreciation to Dr. Trey Riddle of Sunstrand, LLC for providing the industrial hemp and kenaf crop seed for this work, and Rich Mundell, Patrick Perry, and Shannon Rudd for field technical assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Biofuels
  • Economic analysis
  • Industrial hemp
  • Lignin
  • Pretreatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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