Fast-growing, perennial biomass plants

Renewable raw materials and their plant characteristics create a huge potential for modern bioeconomy, while at the same time fulfilling ecosystem services and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere in the soil and plant parts. Thus, a plant becomes a biomass plant, with the motto "from plants to products".

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Katharina Luhmer


Miscanthus can be used as beeding material for animals, afterwards as greenhouse substrate and is finally burned for energy production. This cascade utilization of Miscanthus is established knowledge but there are potential new utilisation paths that are in focus of research and development.

Miscanthus is mainly used for biogas production or other forms of thermal application, but the greatest potential can be found in its material use. There are multifaceted innovations for solving current and future problems in bioeconomy with Miscanthus, for example by implementing it in sprayable insulating plaster or building modules.


Paulownia is one of the fastest growign trees on earth. It creates annual rings up to 4 cm and the wood is particularly light (it is also called "Aluminium of woody plants"). The big leaves and blue-violet flowers are characteristic for this tree. There are several pathways for using Paulownia wood, for example for building instruments or even houses.

Above all that die leaves contain different active ingredients. Additionally, Paulownia can be integrated in agroforestry systems to improve overall yields per area. All this characeteristics make it an interesting renewable resource for material use now and in the future.

© Katharina Luhmer
Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Volker Lannert

Silphium perfolatium L.

Silphium perfoliatum L., also called cup plant, is related to the sunflower, both are plants of the Asteraceae family. It is originally from North America but can be grown in Europe as well. During summer time the flowering starts and can last until late autumn as new flowers open continuosly. Bees and other flower visiting insects are attracted by the inflorescence. However, the cup plants are mainly used in biogas plants but there are several possibilities to use it otherwise, for example to make paper or lightweight concrete from it.

The biggest collection of S. perfoliatum plants is found at Campus Klein-Altendorf. Dr. Christian Wever collected the genotypes during a trip to their natural habitat (more information: unique genepool is the basis for successful breeding of the cup plant, adapted to different usages.


Sida hermaphrodita is a plant growing up to 3 m tall. It is also providing a huge amount of biomass that can be used in several ways. The stems are much more woody than those of Miscanthus or Cup plant, therefore the characteristics for using it as building material are of interest.

Just as Sillphium perfoliatum, Sida hermaphrodita is attractive for flower-visiting insects and contributes to several ecosystem services.

© INRES Nawaro


Avatar Moll

Dr. Marcel Moll

Avatar Pude

Prof. Dr. Ralf Pude

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