IPI International Potash Institute
IPI International Potash Institute

IPI Events: e-ifc No. 23, June 2010

IPI Events

July 2009

IPI-Corvinus University Budapest International Symposium on "Nutrient Management and Nutrient Demand of Energy Plants", 6-9 July 2009, Budapest, Hungary.

Terbe, I.(1), N. Kappel(1), and T. Popp(2).

(1)Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary.
(2)IPI Coordinator Central Europe.

The European Environmental Agency (EEA) reported that in 2009-2010 bio-energy provides about 10-12 percent of the total energy demand whilst, in 2030, it is estimated that 15-16 percent will be derived from energy plants. Consequently, in Europe including in Eastern Europe, energy plant cultivation is increasingly becoming the focus of researchers and farmers.

Depending on the agro-climatic conditions, different arable and arboreal plant species are used for producing bio-energy. Many conferences and publications discuss the technological facilities and questions of biogas, bioethanol or biodiesel production, as well as the availability of energy plants, but the nutrient demand of energy plants and nutrient management during cultivation receive very little attention. To provide some discussion on these important topics, the International Potash Institute (IPI) and the Corvinus University of Budapest organized an international symposium on "Nutrient management and nutrient demand of energy plants" in July 2009. A number of researcher and professionals from several countries attended the event.

After the official opening - presented by Dr. Tamás Mészáros, Rector from the Corvinus University of Budapest - Dr. Tamás Németh, Secretary from the Hungarian Academy of Science, presented the keynote address on "Fuel and energy from plants - threats or opportunities for the world". He provided estimations on the role of bio-energy in world's energy production, and presented data to highlight the disparity in this field in certain regions of the world.

Participants at the fild trip. Photo by Corvinus University.
Participants at the field trip. Photo by Corvinus University.

The symposium presentations were organized in four sessions. The first session dealt with new and traditional crops for bio-energy. Nutrient consumption of some non-traditional energy crops was presented by Prof. Dr. Margarita Nikolova from Bulgaria. From Dr. Victor Bruckman of the Commission for Interdisciplinary Ecological Studies in Austria, delegates heard that a new generation of biofuels has awakened optimism about our ability to reduce dependency on petroleum and contribute to a sustainable and environmentally-friendly future for energy production and utilization.

The second session highlighted the quality requirement of crops for bioenergy. Prof. Dr. Ismail Cakmak from Sabanci University, Turkey provided a very exciting presentation about the role of mineral nutrition in carbon allocation and biomass production in bio-energy plants. A Hungarian case-study provided valuable information about the mineral nutrition of maize produced for bioethanol. The paper was presented by Dr. Péter Csathó from the Research Institute for Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Aida Bani of the Agro-Environmental Department at the Agricultural University of Tirana in Albania, talked about the effects of nutrients on biomass production in hyperaccumulator plants as a potential source of energy.

Participants of the symposium at the poster session. Photo by Corvinus University.
Participants of the symposium at the poster session. Photo by Corvinus University.

The third session focused on optimal crop rotation and nutrient balance for bio-energy plants. Nutrient management and the effect of potassium fertilization were discussed. Prof. Dr. Andreas Gransee from K+S KALI GmbH emphasized that the determination of adequate fertilizer supply is a prerequisite for all farming systems. Hungarian researchers studied the effect of increasing potassium mineral fertilizer supply on the yield and quality parameters of five corn hybrids in a field experiment. Experiments were carried out also at the Lithuanian Institute of Agriculture, as presented by Zydre Kadziuliene, to identify changes in the biochemical composition of tall fescue at different nitrogen inputs for biomass cultivation.

In the final session, the energy and CO2 balance of crops grown for bio-energy was the main topic. Dr. Jürgen Küsters from Yara International ASA reported on energy and CO2 balances, which are calculated for biofuels (biodiesel and bioethanol), as well as for the incineration of biomass and for the production of biogas. Prof. Éva Salamon-Albert of the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Pécs in Hungary introduced a tall wheat grass cultivar as an alternative energy crop in Hungary.

A one-day excursion programme was also organized to Agrospeciál Kft. in Pálhalma and the town of Szekszárd. In Pálhalma, a biogas plant was visited, where farmyard manure (slurry) and other organic waste products are being processed. In Szekszárd, Minerág Kft. provided a tour round the experiments at their energy plant plantation. Dr. István Csíbór, director of the facility, informed delegates that Szekszárdi Növény ZRt. is one of the most important agricultural enterprises in the region due to their organizational, trading and production activities. The Bényei farm was then visited, where 300 ha plantation of energy crops are grown, including the largest collection of Populus nigra clones in Europe and cultivation of mother-plants of Populus nigra and Populus x euramericana. Finally the programme ended with a wine tasting. The Mészáros Winery and House of Wine provided an ideal place for tasting the typical wines of Hungary made from merlot, cabernet and kadarka varieties.

You can access the symposium presentations on the IPI website.

The report on the IPI-Corvinus University Budapest International Symposium on "Nutrient Management and Nutrient Demand of Energy Plants", 6-9 July 2009, Budapest, Hungary appears also at

Regional Activities/Central Europe