Remote sensing applications of estimating biomass for energy crops: Development of ground-based sensing systems

Tofael Ahamed, Lei Tian, Noguchi Ryozo, Tomohiro Takigawa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Biomass from energy crops is a very versatile resource that can be used to produce heat, electricity, and transport fuels. The energy crops have high potentials to use in all these applications today, and its future demand is projected in regional and national levels to grow substantially. To maximize the biomass feedstock production, remote sensing techniques have been identified for the non-destructive measurements and estimation of biomass. The physical status of crop growth and biomass accumulation can be projected over the growing seasons. Thus, the objective of this chapter is to focus the techniques of understating crop status from different sensors including multispectral camera, spectrometer, laser range finder and light quantum sensors. These non-destructive measurements include estimation of biomass correlating with suitable vegetative indices, height of the plants, and biomass accumulation using Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR). The field experimental data has also presented from field spectrometry and light quantum sensing to show the potentials of measuring suitable vegetative indices, and methods of estimating the amount of dry matter biomass from PAR. The image information captured from the top of a 38 m tower using a multispectral camera for energy crops helped to understand the crop growth status over the growing season. The Vegetation Index (VI), and intercepted PAR of energy crops have been measured at the Energy Farm, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop a model for predicting dry matter biomass. While conducting the experiments in the bioenergy crop's field, the using of spectrometry was difficult due to height of the energy crops. Therefore, a high clearance Data Acquisition Vehicle (DAV) was proposed for ground sensing of energy crops. In an another field experiment, at the Agricultural and Forest Research Center, University of Tsukuba, a laser range finder was used to determine the plants growing height from biomass canopy to estimate the yield of biomass as an non-destructive remote measurement from an autonomous agricultural tractor. This laser based approach was a step to develop an on-the-go remote sensing system under the tree canopy where illumination is a concern. The remote sensing applications in the estimation of biomass, and energy content using multiple sensors could be installed with a microcontroller to develop an on-the-go sensing platform and asses the real-time crop growing status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRemote Sensing
Subtitle of host publicationTechniques, Applications and Technologies
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781624171406
StatePublished - Mar 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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