Phalaris II

Reed Canary Grass as an Energy Crop – Optimization of Biomass Utilization and Bioaccumulation of Commercially Valuable Elements

Funding Program of the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) “Renewable Resources”

Project Duration: November 2016 – October 2019

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Project Description

Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea) is a perennial grass species adapted to temperate regions with a high potential as energy crop and for bio-accumulation of strategic elements such as germanium (Ge) and rare earth elements (REEs). However, the production of seeds from this species is presently rather difficult, since seed-shattering is very high. The project “Phalaris II” aims at the investigation of reed canary grass with respect to its potential use for generating biogas and accumulation of commercially valuable elements. The resistance to seed-shattering, biomass growth and genetic variability in the accumulation of valuable elements will be analyzed and experimentally proofed. Biomass will be used energetically via fermentation and burning, testing important process parameters such as maximum amount of reed canary grass biomass to be applied and amount and identity of exhaust gas emissions. Residues from biomass fermentation and burning will be analyzed for their contents of the strategic elements Ge and REEs with respect to their commercial utilization. Results will be assessed for economic feasibility in the framework of a cascade effect utilization.




Project Management and Contact Persons

  • Dr. Ulf Feuerstein (Project coordinator), Deutsche Saatveredelung AG, Weissenburger Straße 5, 59557 Lippstadt, Phone: +49 4253 931111, Ulf.Feuerstein(at)
  • Prof. Dr. Hermann Heilmeier (Project coordinator at TU BAF), Biology / Ecology Unit, Institute of Biosciences, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Phone: +49 3731 39-3208, Hermann.Heilmeier(at)
  • Dr. Oliver Wiche (Project management TU BAF), Biology / Ecology Unit, Institute of Biosciences, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Phone: +49 3731 39-3562, Oliver.Wiche(at)


Project Team TU Bergakademie Freiberg

Institute of Biosciences, Biology / Ecology Unit

Prof. Dr. Hermann Heilmeier, Phone: +49 3731 39-3208
Dr. Oliver Wiche, Phone: +49 3731 39-3562
Dipl.-Nat. Christin Moschner, Phone: +49 3731 39-4157
Dipl.-Nat. Ringo Schwabe, Phone: +49 3731 39-4157

Institute of Thermal Engineering / Professorship for Gas and Heat Technology

Dipl.-Ing. Erik Ferchau, Phone: +49 3731 39-3946, Ferchau(at)


Project Team DSV

Deutsche Saatveredelung AG, Weissenburger Straße 5, 59557 Lippstadt

Dr. Ulf Feuerstein, Phone: +49(0) 4253 931111, Ulf.Feuerstein(at)
Doerte Schweneker, Phone: +49(0) 4253 93 1114, Doerte.Schweneker(at)

On the basis of the breeding lines which were selected in the project Phalaris I for a reduced seed shattering seed yield tests were established to verify the selection success. The experiments will be harvested in 2019 a second time to confirm the results from 2018.

In close collaboration with the TU Bergakademie Freiberg DSV composed a range of new polycrosses with genotypes which were identified for their good accumulation of germanium and rare earth elements. First results for biomass and seed yield as well for their accumulation habit were obtained in 2018. The results will be verified in 2019.

For the investigations for biogas development and combustion DSV prepared silage and hay and handed it over to the Institute of Thermal Engineering.