Energy crops in Ukraine: data from UNDP study tour


There are about 4 million hectares of underutilized, marginal and contaminated agricultural lands in Ukraine. Traditional agriculture is not profitable for organizing on these lands. Most of these areas are suited very good for growing energy crops – willow, poplar, miscanthus, switchgrass and others. Their cultivation is actively developing in Europe: for farmers, it is a profitable business and land improvement, for local communities – it’s additional income from land rent and job creation, for the country – energy independence and environmental improvement. It is projected that by 2020 the EU land available for cultivating energy crops will increase to 20.5 million hectares, and by 2030 – to 26.2 million hectares.

In Ukraine, the branch of growing energy crops is in its infancy, with about 4,000 hectares of marginal land planted with energy crops, mostly energy willow, , oplar and miscanthus, which average annual yield is 20 t/ha.

SAF experts participated in UNDP study tour organized by UNDP Project “Development and Commercialization of Bioenergy Technologies in the Municipal Sector in Ukraine”.  This article source is an article from the newspaper Den’: “30% of natural gas “grows” in the fields” (in Ukrainian).


Miscanthus is a long-term cereal crop that has been grown for many years in America and Western Europe as a source of bioenergy.

The experience of growing the miscanthus in Ukraine shows that, after two years of planting of rhizomes, it is possible to harvest 20-25 tons of dry mass per hectare per year for the next 20 years. The cost of dry biomass of miscanthus is on average 200-220 UAH/t.


Seedlings of energy willow (about 15 thousand for hectare) can now be purchased in Ukraine. The breeding material of Swedish breeding, which costs from 80 kopiykas to 1 hryvnia per piece, depending on the number of purchased plants, grows better on non-fertile soils, which is more resistant to diseases. The seedlings of Polish selection are much cheaper – 35 kopiykas per piece.

According to experts, in order to receive annually – within 25 years – an increase of 20 wet tons from an adult willow plantation, it is necessary to adhere strictly to certain elements of the technology of cultivating this culture.

Today, it’s beneficial to grow energy willow in Ukraine near the place of processing and use it for the needs of its own production: for the heating of industrial premises, greenhouses, drying of products. In this case, the profitability of the vines will not be doubted. But the transport of energy raw materials to long distances significantly reduces the financial attractiveness of this business.

The minus of “chips” from energy willow is that it needs to be dried. The boilers which can work on biomass with a moisture content near 55% are still not much today.


Another energy crop that is in demand among Ukrainian entrepreneurs is the energy poplar. Poplar is a close relative of willow. In our climatic conditions among all other trees, the poplar itself grows fastest. She grows in similar conditions with the willow. For her growth, she needs a lot of moisture and light. Therefore, the largest yield of biomass will be in conditions close to those in the valleys of rivers.

Four cubic meters of wood replace 1000 cubic meters. m of gas. Such a biofuel will cost the state almost four times cheaper.

Poplar absorbs a large amount of carbon dioxide. Harmful emissions, compared with diesel fuel, will be reduced by 90%.

In industrial plantations, the dry weight of poplar biomass is 6-12 t/ha. Poplar plantations remain productive up to 15-20 years or more, and biomass can be collected every three to six years during this period.

Energy plantations of biomass prevent soil erosion, contribute to the improvement of the environment. And during combustion of biomass on the power plant the emitted into the atmosphere CO2 equals COabsorbed by the plant during growth.

All article from the newspaper Den’: “30% of natural gas “grows” in the fields” (in Ukrainian).

More about the trip You can read here.

Video about all study tour bioenergy projects You can view here or below: