Study considers impact of bioenergy crops on emissions

A seven-member consortium led by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology is to study the impact of bioenergy crop land-use changes on soil carbon stocks and greenhouse-gas emissions.

The £3.28m Ecosystem Land Use Modelling & Soil Carbon GHG Flux Trial (ELUM) has been commissioned and funded by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).

The ETI project is being co-ordinated by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology under Dr Niall McNamara. Partners include Aberdeen, Aberystwyth, Edinburgh and Southampton universities and York Forest Research.

The aim of the ELUM project is to develop a model to quantitatively assess changes in levels of carbon, nitrogen and water in soil, combined with the greenhouse-gas flux that results from the conversion of land to bioenergy crop production.

All the data and models that will be produced will eventually be made freely available to researchers and the wider community.

The ELUM project is one of three new bioenergy projects recently announced by the ETI, valued at £4.57m. The ETI is a public-private partnership tasked with developing ’mass-scale’ technologies that will help the UK meet its 2020 and 2050 energy targets.