Woody Biomass Production

The increasing scarcity of fossil fuels, associated with the combustion of fossil fuels causing increase of greenhouse gase (GHG) emissions, raised growing interest in renewable energy sources. In all scenarios for future, energy fuels from biomass - so-called biofuels - and/or other energy sources from biomass (i.e. biogas, thermal recycling), play an important role. To what extent, however, biomass can contribute to a significant regional and global reduction of GHG emissions depends critically on several factors such as land availability and land use conflicts, sustainable crop production management, cost and actual carbon neutrality and environmental safety.

Research at EUS aims to provide a scientific basis for sustainable biomass production, both in terms of resource-efficient growth (i.e. water/nitrogen use efficiency WUE/NUE) and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions of biomass species. Particular we analyze contribution of aquaporins to the WUE of poplar. Aquaporins are integral membrane proteins controlling water flow across cell membranes and play multiple functions in all aspects of plant-water relations. Isoprene, the major biogenic VOC, is a highly reactive hydrocarbon with significant impact on photosmog (ozone), aerosol formation and methane lifetime. At EUS we quantify VOC emission from short rotation coppice (SRC) of trees under different environmental conditions and analyze its importance for an environmental health bioenergy production.