Optimisation of Reed Canary Grass as a native European Energy Crop

The project

The objectives of the ORNATE project are to:

  1. Develop a trial network of genetically diverse reed canary grass to help define optimum ideotypes matched to differing environments and end uses.

  2. Set up broad pre-breeding populations using native collected accessions and hybrid populations from which to initiate recurrent selection for biomass yield and end-use quality.

  3. Use state of the art genomics and phenomics, including LemnaTec based high throughput phenotyping, to establish tools for 21st century precision breeding.

  4. Develop in a public-private partnership the opportunities for novel value chains and markets for reed canary grass as a sustainable bioenergy feedstock.

Our overall aim therefore in the ORNATE project is to create a step change in the improvement of reed canary grass as a sustainable biomass crop for energy purposes by creating the tools, germplasm and market intelligence to drive a state of the art breeding programme within a public - private partnership.

The science is of strategic importance to Europe and lays a strong foundation for the development and optimisation of reed canary grass as a sustainable biomass crop. It addresses the climate change challenge using a crop that is able to substitute for fossil carbon whilst maximising greenhouse gas benefits through carbon sequestration with low fertiliser requirements.