Modeling state-level soil carbon emission factors under various scenarios for direct land use change associated with United States biofuel feedstock production

Ho Young Kwon, Steffen Mueller, Jennifer B. Dunn, Michelle M. Wander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Current estimates of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of biofuels produced in the US can be improved by refining soil C emission factors (EF; C emissions per land area per year) for direct land use change associated with different biofuel feedstock scenarios. We developed a modeling framework to estimate these EFs at the state-level by utilizing remote sensing data, national statistics databases, and a surrogate model for CENTURY's soil organic C dynamics submodel (SCSOC). We estimated the forward change in soil C concentration within the 0-30cm depth and computed the associated EFs for the 2011 to 2040 period for croplands, grasslands or pasture/hay, croplands/conservation reserve, and forests that weresuited to produce any of four possible biofuel feedstock systems [corn (Zea Mays L)-corn, corn-corn with stover harvest, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L), and miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus Greef et Deuter)]. Our results predict smaller losses or even modest gains in sequestration for corn based systems, particularly on existing croplands, than previous efforts and support assertions that production of perennial grasses will lead to negative emissions in most situations and that conversion of forest or established grasslands to biofuel production would likely produce net emissions. The proposed framework and use of the SCSOC provide transparency and relative simplicity that permit users to easily modify model inputs to inform biofuel feedstock production targets set forth by policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-310
Number of pages12
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Volume55
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013

Keywords

  • Direct land use change
  • Process-based modeling
  • Soil C emissions factors
  • Surrogate CENTURY soil organic C model
  • United States biofuel feedstock production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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