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Reference Number EP/N030141/1
Title Negative Emission Technologies and the food-energy-water-neXus (NETX)
Status Completed
Energy Categories Renewable Energy Sources(Bio-Energy, Other bio-energy) 30%;
Not Energy Related 70%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields BIOLOGICAL AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES (Biological Sciences) 25%;
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences) 25%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Systems Analysis related to energy R&D (Other Systems Analysis) 80%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Environmental dimensions) 20%;
Principal Investigator Dr A Harper
No email address given
Mathematical Science
University of Exeter
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 July 2016
End Date 30 June 2019
Duration 36 months
Total Grant Value £235,429
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region South West
Programme LWEC : LWEC
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr A Harper , Mathematical Science, University of Exeter (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , The Met Office (0.000%)
Project Contact , National Centre for Atmospheric Science (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract If CO2 emissions continue to rise, climate change will adversely affect global food and water availability, ecosystems, cities, and coastal communities. While reduction of fossil fuels will be an essential step for reducing atmospheric CO2, Negative Emission Technologies (NETs) can help meet emission targets. During combustion, CO2 can be extracted, transported, and stored in geologic repositories - this is the process of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Combining bioenergy with CCS (BECCS) could result in negative emissions of CO2. BECCS is attractive since it results in a net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere while also providing a renewable source of energy. However, BECCS requires a large commitment of land and will have impacts on food and water availability. This work focuses on BECCS and addresses the challenges for planning a global and nationwide distribution of bioenergy crops.The vast majority of IPCC scenarios that remain below 2 degrees C makes use of NET in the 21st century. Although bioenergy crops and BECCS are an essential component of the scenarios (produced by Integrated Assessment Models, or IAMs), the crops in even the most sophisticated IAMs only respond to mean changes in climate. This results in an inconsistency in the modelling framework: the IAMs can assume bioenergy crops are effective at drawing down CO2 and producing energy in a region where actually climate change will reduce their effectiveness. Earth System Models (ESMs) represent the dynamics of the atmosphere, oceans, sea ice, and land surface. They can account for biophysical (i.e. changes to albedo and latent heat fluxes) and biogeochemical (i.e. uptake or release of greenhouse gases) feedbacks due to land use change. They are the only tool available to investigate future impacts of spatial and temporal variability in climate on the food, energy, and water nexus. However, the ESMs used in the last IPCC report only accounted for a generic crop type at best, not differentiating between bioenergy and food crops. Without an explicit representation of bioenergy crops in ESMs, the effects of climate change do not feedback to affect the food, energy, and water resources assumed to be true in the IAMs. There is an urgent need for predicting the productivity of bioenergy crops in a coupled climate simulation, to see the impact of a range of climate change on the productivity, and associated impacts on food crop productivity, energy production, and water availability. In this project, I will include representations of first and second generation bioenergy crops in the UK ESM, and investigate the impacts of climate change on the productivity at the global and regional (for the UK) level. This work will assess the viability of negative emissions of CO2 through bioenergy crops as an effective climate mitigation strategy under a changing climate, and provide data to support decisions that will minimize the impacts of both climate change and climate change mitigation on bioenergy production, food, and water availability. The outcomes of this project will enhance the resilience of the food/water/energy nexus to climate change and climate variability through better planning, and providing socially responsible recommendations for balancing the challenges of reducing climate change with feeding our growing global population
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 31/01/19