October 15, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Davis Seminar: ‘Sustainable Bioenergy in a Changing Climate,’ Oct. 15

The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs presents a seminar with Dr. Sarah Davis on “Sustainable Bioenergy in a Changing Climate” Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 11:50 a.m. in Irvine Hall 159, Biological Sciences.

Dr. Sarah Davis

Dr. Sarah Davis

Davis is Assistant Professor in the Voinovich School.

Abstract: A major ecological problem of our time is the challenge of matching resource demands with sustainably sourced products. Advanced bioenergy systems may help to mitigate climate change caused by energy industries, but feedstocks for bioenergy must be carefully selected and managed for local/regional environmental conditions. Feedstocks that can be cultivated on abandoned agricultural lands and in extreme climatic conditions provide opportunities for bioenergy development that might also achieve environmental goals. Plants that use Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) for photosynthesis have exceptional water use efficiency and may be successful crops in drought conditions that cause common crops to fail. Theoretical yields of biofuel from CAM plants meet or exceed that of typical bioenergy cropping systems while maintaining far lower water requirements. Preliminary data from the first field trial in the United States of the obligate CAM plants in the Agave genus suggest that Agave americana yields in arid conditions are at least competitive with soybean yields. Environmentally sustainable production of Agave ultimately depends on prior land use and the amount of inputs required to achieve commercially viable biomass yields.

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