Assessment of the Biogas Yield of White Mustard (Sinapis alba) Cultivated as Intercrops
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Faculty of Environmental Engineering, Lublin University of Technology, ul. Nadbystrzycka 40B, 20-618 Lublin, Poland
Alicja Słomka   

Lublin University of Technology, Faculty of Environmental Engineering, ul. Nadbystrzycka 40B, 20-618 Lublin, Poland
Publication date: 2021-07-06
J. Ecol. Eng. 2021; 22(7):67–72
Popularization of intercrops in agriculture, resulting in an increased sequestration of carbon dioxide may bring additional benefits, becoming a source of biomass constituting a feedstock for biogas production. The residue formed in the course of biogas production, i.e. digestate, is also an alternative or a valuable supplement for mineral fertilizers necessary to maintain the proper condition of the agricultural soil. Therefore, the application of substrates from the intecrop biomass enables to improve the quality of soil, without sacrificing the main crop, by preventing the leaching of nutrients; it also reduces the risk of plant diseases, has a significant influence on diversification of energy sources, and contributes to solving the issue of excessive greenhouse gases emission. The aim of the work was to investigate the biogas and methanogenic potential of white mustard (Sinapis alba) and estimate the biogas efficiency of its biomass (the above-ground part) per hectare of arable land. The studies were conducted on the plants cultivated on experimental plots located in Emilianów and Wierzbica (Lubelskie Voivoideship). The cultivation of plants was conducted simultaneously, as stubble crop. The studies indicated a significant quantitative and qualitative differentiation of plant biomass collected from particular plots. The C:N ratio, which constitutes the basic factors governing the correct course of methane fermentation, in the case of the shoot biomass of the considered plants, ranged from 13.5:1 to 19.9:1, depending on the location. The biomass efficiency of mustard biomass ranged from 0.6 t d.m. ha-1 to 0.8 t d.m. ha-1, whereas its biogas potential amounted to 350-440 m3 t-1 d.m. Therefore, one hectare of intercrop mustard yields 264-280 m3 of biogas and the produced digestate can be recirculated to the soil, increasing the amount of biogenic substances and enriching it with humic substances.