Location: Crop Genetics and Breeding ResearchTitle: Does intercropping carinata with loblolly pine for sustainable aviation fuel production save carbon? A case study from the southern United States
|AKTER, HOSNE ARA - University Of Georgia|
|DWIVEDI, PUNEET - University Of Georgia|
|ALAM, ASIFUL - University Of Georgia|
|Anderson, William - Bill|
Submitted to: BioEnergy Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/19/2022
Publication Date: 1/21/2022
Citation: Akter, H., Dwivedi, P., Alam, A., Anderson, W.F. 2022. Does intercropping carinata with loblolly pine for sustainable aviation fuel production save carbon? A case study from the southern United States. BioEnergy Research. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12155-022-10394-5.
Interpretive Summary: Carinata (Brassica carinata) is an oilseed crop that is being produced for use as a bio-fuel crop. It fits into a number of cropping systems. Little research has been done on the production of carinata or any bio-energy feedstocks within newly planted loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.). This study compares the amount of carbon being sequestered between growing carinata within newly planted pine plantations for the first few years versus only pine. A life cycle analysis was performed using current information and included forest management with carinata, the use of wood products, the decay of wood products in landfills, and the substitution of conventional jet fuel with bio-jet fuel. Three pine planting spacing were used to determine the difference with and without carinata grown between pine rows. Devoting the forestland for intercropping to produce bio-jet fuel decreased the total carbon storage by 4.71 t, 6.51 t, and 14.24 t C/ha than loblolly pine only management scenario for site indices 15.3, 18.3m, and 21.3m, respectively over the simulation period. The results show that planting a carinata as a bio-fuel feedstock within pine planting would not sequester as much carbon as if the pines were grown by themselves. The economic return would have to offset the lack of environmental improvements.
Technical Abstract: Using an integrated life cycle assessment, this study determines carbon savings related to intercropping carinata (Brassica carinata A. Braun) with loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) and compares it with the carbon savings associated with the production of loblolly pine only. The functional unit for analysis was a hectare of intensively managed loblolly pine plantation in the Southern United States. The system boundary started from forest management with carinata, use of wood products, the decay of wood products in landfills, and the substitution of conventional jet fuel with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Carbon stored in wood products was 5.46 t, 6.75 t, and 11.52 t C ha-1 higher than carbon stored in landfill at the end of the simulation period (100 years) for the intercropping production system for site indices 15.3 m, 18.3 m, and 21.3 m, respectively. At the end of the simulation period, the total avoided carbon savings from carinata-based SAF were 2.57 t, 4.15 t, and 4.76 t C ha-1 for site indices 21.3m, 18.3 m, and 15.3m, respectively. Over the simulation period, devoting the forestland for intercropping to produce SAF decreased the total carbon storage by 2.55 t, 4.08 t, and 12.49 t C ha-1 than loblolly pine only management scenario for site indices 15.3 m, 18.3 m, and 21.3 m, respectively. Our results indicate that a system-level approach should be taken for analyzing the carbon benefits related to intercropping of bioenergy crops in existing forest stands.