Bioenergy Crops and the Cooling Effect

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As per a new study it has been revealed that converting annual crops to perennial bioenergy crops could reduce the cooling effect on the areas wherein, they are cultivated. The bioenergy crops used in the study are eucalyptus, poplar, willow, miscanthus and switchgrass. The simulation of the biophysical climate impact for a range of future bioenergy crop cultivation scenarios was done by the researchers.

The significance of the crop type choice, the original land use type upon which bioenergy crops are expanded, the total cultivation area along with its spatial distribution patterns were also demonstrated in the study.

Generation of Bioenergy Crops

About

  • Bioenergy Crops are those crops from which Biofuels are produced or manufactured.
  • The term used to describe biofuel crops is “Energy crops.”
  • These crops include wheat, corn, maize, edible oilseeds/edible oils, sugarcane, and other crops.
  • Under bioenergy crops, the cultivation area occupies 3.8 % ± 0.5 % of the global total land area.
  • The cultivation area exerts strong regional biophysical effects resulting in a global net change in air temperature of − 0.08 ~+ 0.05°C.
  • The global air temperature would decrease by 0.03 ~0.08 °C along with strong regional contrasts and inter-annual variability.
  • For removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, identification of a large-scale bioenergy crop cultivation, captured with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) as a major negative emission technology (NET) .

Advantages of Biofuels over Fossil Fuels

  • The ability to burn cleaner and emit fewer pollutants and greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the sky.
  • They are environment friendly.
  • Biofuels are frequently mixed with gasoline by the energy corporations.

Way Ahead

  • A biophysical cooling effect is induced at the global scale by large-scale bioenergy crop cultivation with the air temperature change having strong spatial variations and inter-annual variability.
  • The permafrost may be protected from thawing or reducing methane emissions from wetlands by the strong cooling effects in Eurasia between 60°N and 80°N.
  • Permafrost is that ground which remains completely frozen i.e.. , 32°F (0°C) for at least two years.
  • For eucalypt, the cooling effects are more with the greatest warming effects seen for switchgrass.
  • Replacement of forests with switchgrass results in both the biophysical warming effects and carbon release through deforestation.

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