West Virginia University introduces new bioenergy model


United States An innovative bioenergy model called “FUN-BioCROP” developed at West Virginia University will help farmers improve man age production while also boosting a renewable energy source that will not increase atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Unlike other models, the Fixation and Uptake of Nitrogen-Bioenergy Carbon, Rhizosphere, Organisms, and Protection OP is the first of its kind to investigate how differences in root growth, interactions with microbes in the soil, and how they are grown affect soil carbon levels. It offers a tool for enhancing the environmental services provided by bioenergy agriculture by predicting the effects of plant selection and agricultural management on soil carbon storage, which has the potential to slow climate change.

Avoiding harmful effects of climate change

Stephanie Juice, a postdoctoral fellow in biology, hopes that her work will aid in avoiding the potentially harmful effects of climate change and reliance on fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. By shifting to renewable energy sources (i.e., bioenergy from plants) via oil harvested from feedstock crops, less CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere, resulting in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly source of fuel.

Promoting microbial growth

According to Juice, one additional benefit of bioenergy is that while carbon neutral fuels are being grown, bioenergy plants may take carbon from the atmosphere and store it in soils. Plants increase soil carbon by growing deep roots and promoting microbial growth. However, it is difficult to predict when or where this additional benefit of soil carbon storage will occur. The FUN-BioCROP model was created to address this critical need.

The FUN-BioCROP model research is being supported by a grant from the Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research, which is being administered by the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation.