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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #211223

Title: Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions with cellulosic and grain bioenergy crops

item Adler, Paul
item Dell, Curtis
item Del Grosso, Stephen - Steve

Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2007
Publication Date: 8/5/2007
Citation: Adler, P.R., Dell, C.J., Del Grosso, S.J., Parton, W.J. 2007. Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions with cellulosic and grain bioenergy crops [abstract]. Ecological Society of America Abstracts. p. 113-114.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: Bioenergy cropping systems could help offset GHG emissions, but quantifying that offset is complex. Bioenergy crops offset CO2 emissions by converting atmospheric CO2 to organic C in crop biomass and soil, but they also emit N2O and vary in their effects on soil oxidation of methane. Growing the crops requires energy, and so does converting the harvested product to usable fuels. Nitrous oxide and other GHG emissions vary with the climate, soil properties, and land use. The objective of this study was to compare observed and DAYCENT simulated N2O gas emission rates from bioenergy cropping systems for inclusion in a life cycle assessment quantifying all components contributing to the net GHG emissions. Nitrous oxide was the largest greenhouse gas source. Although DAYCENT did not always capture the observed daily variability in N2O emissions, it did simulate the observed seasonal patterns within systems and differences in mean emissions among systems reasonably well. Compared with the life cycle of gasoline and diesel, ethanol and biodiesel from the corn-soybean-alfalfa rotation in the near-term reduced net GHG emissions by 64%, reed canarygrass by 119%, and 144% for switchgrass. In the long-term, where soil C sequestration was assumed to no longer occur, a reduction of GHG emissions for the corn rotation was 43%, reed canarygrass 84%, and 114% for switchgrass compared with the life cycle of gasoline and diesel.