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Potential for carbon sequestration and mitigation of climate change by irrigation of grasslands
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemical Engineering and Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2878-8656
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemical Engineering and Technology, Energy Processes. Mälardalen University, Sweden .
2014 (English)In: Applied Energy, ISSN 0306-2619, E-ISSN 1872-9118, Vol. 136, 1145-1154 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The climate change mitigation potential of irrigation powered by a photovoltaic water pumping system (PVWPS) to restore degraded grasslands has been investigated using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2006 Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories for Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use. The purpose of this study is to develop a generic and simple method to estimate the climate change mitigation benefit of a PVWPS. The possibility to develop carbon credits for the carbon offset markets has also been studied comparing carbon sequestration in grasslands to other carbon sequestration projects. The soil carbon sequestration following irrigation of the grassland is calculated as an annual increase in the soil organic carbon pool. The PVWPS can also generate an excess of electricity when irrigation is not needed and the emissions reductions due to substitution of grid electricity give additional climate change mitigation potential. The results from this study show that the carbon sequestration and emissions reductions benefits per land area using a PVWPS for irrigating grasslands are comparable to other carbon sequestration options such as switching to no-till practice. Soil carbon in irrigated grasslands is increased with over 60% relative to severely degraded grasslands and if nitrogen fixing species are introduced the increase in soil organic carbon can be almost 80%. Renewable electricity generation by the PVWPS will further increase the mitigation benefit of the system with 70-90%. When applying the methodology developed in this paper to a case in Qinghai, China, we conclude that using a PVWPS to restore degraded grasslands for increased grass production and desertification control has a climate change mitigation benefit of 148 Mg (1 Mg = 1 metric ton) CO2-equivalents (CO2-eq) per hectare in a cold temperate, dry climate during a 20 year process of soil organic carbon sequestration and emissions reductions. Leakage due to an increase in N2O emissions from the additional biomass production and introduction of nitrogen fixing species is included in this result. The most important conclusion from our case is that if soil carbon sequestration is lower than 24 Mg CO2-eq per hectare including leakage, then the climate change mitigation benefit is larger if PV is used to produce electricity for the grid.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 136, 1145-1154 p.
Keyword [en]
Grassland conservation, Irrigation, Soil organic carbon, CO2 emission reduction, Carbon sequestration
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-158265DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.08.025ISI: 000345725800110Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84909587682OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-158265DiVA: diva2:778184
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Note

QC 20150109

Available from: 2015-01-09 Created: 2015-01-07 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. An evaluation of solar powered irrigation as carbon offset projects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An evaluation of solar powered irrigation as carbon offset projects
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Carbon offsets have been developed as one tool to incentivise investments by developed nations in climate change mitigation activities in developing countries. The carbon offsets can be used towards the countries’ own mitigation targets but are also meant to benefit developing countries by providing a pathway to clean development.

Photovoltaic water pumping (PVWP) technology is a solution to use PV for irrigation, which can be used to restore degraded grasslands and help farmers adapt to climate change. Restoration of degraded grasslands increases the production of grass and will therefore increase the amount of carbon in the soil, a process that may mitigate climate change. However, poor farmers often have limited access to irrigation technology and this thesis assesses how carbon offsets may bring revenues to increase adaption of PVWP technology in remote areas of the Chinese grasslands.

PV modules can be used to mitigate climate change in different ways; the most common is to produce electricity to replace fossil fuel power capacity. The novelty of this thesis is that it assesses the alternative mitigation possibilities for the PVWP project proposed here. Further, consideration of water constraints that limit the applicability of the technology and a framework to assess the trade-offs between potential downstream water impacts and environmental co-benefits of the project add to the novelty of this thesis. Policy barriers for the project will also be considered.

 Used to restore severely degraded grasslands, PVWP projects show high carbon sequestration potential and successfully compete with grid electricity as carbon offset projects. A case is analysed and it shows that the carbon market could play a role in increasing the feasibility of PVWP projects. However, water issues make project implementation very site-specific and some indicators to determine feasibility is proposed to be blue water availability, evaporation recycling ratio and water productivity. Water use must also be looked at with respect to climate, food and energy security, calling for a nexus approach to evaluate the project suitability. In May 2016, grassland management projects are excluded from the Clean Development Mechanism to the Kyoto Protocol, and this limits project implementation to the voluntary markets.

Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingen är ämnad att läsas av beslutsfattare inom klimatområdet samt aktörer på de olika klimatkompensationsmarknaderna.

Klimatkompensation har utvecklats som ett verktyg för att stimulera industriländers investeringar i klimatprojekt i utvecklingsländer. Klimatkompensation kan användas för att nå industriländernas egna klimatmål men är också tänkta att gynna utvecklingsländer genom att tillhandahålla en ”ren” utvecklingsmöjlighet.

Solcellsdrivna vattenpumpar (eng. photovoltaic water pumping: PVWP) är en teknik för att använda solceller för bevattning. Tekniken kan användas för att restaurera degraderade gräsmarker och för att hjälpa jordbrukare anpassa sig till klimatförändringarna. Restaurering av gräsmarker ökar produktionen av gräs vilket medför ökad mängden kol i marken, en process som kan mildra klimatförändringarna. Men fattiga bönder har ofta begränsad tillgång till bevattningsteknik och denna avhandling utvärderar hur klimatkompensation kan ge intäkter för att öka användningen av PVWP i avlägsna delar på den kinesiska slätten.

Solceller kan användas för att mildra klimatförändringarna på olika sätt och vanligast är att producera el för att ersätta fossila bränslen. Det är därför viktigt att titta på alternativkostnaden för PVWP-projekten som föreslås här. Vidare begränsar vattentillgången projekten och ett ramverk för att tydliggöra avvägningar mellan vattenrelaterade problem och miljömässiga fördelarna med ett projekt är nödvändigt. Klimatpolitiska styrmedel sätter också upp vissa begränsningar för projekten.

Om PVWP används för att återställa mycket degraderade gräsmarker, visar projekten hög klimatnytta och de kan framgångsrikt konkurrera med solel till nätet som klimatkompensationsprojekt. En fallstudie visar att klimatkompensationsmarknaden skulle kunna spela en viss roll för att öka antalet PVWP-projekt. Däremot gör vattenfrågan projektens geografiska plats viktig och indikatorer för att avgöra genomförbarheten föreslås vara ”blåvattentillgång”, ”förångningsåtervinning” och ”vattenproduktivitet”. Vattenanvändningen måste också ses i förhållande till klimat, mat- och energisäkerhet, vilket kräver en nexusstrategi för att utvärdera projekten. I skrivande stund (maj 2016) är projekt rörande skötsel av gräsmarker exkluderade från mekanismen för ren utveckling (CDM) till Kyotoprotokollet och detta begränsar projekten till de frivilliga klimat-kompensationsmarknaderna.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. 86 p.
Series
TRITA-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2016:29
Keyword
carbon offset, carbon sequestration, clean development mechanism, climate change adaptation, desertification, solar power water pumping
National Category
Other Chemical Engineering
Research subject
Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-188562 (URN)978-91-7729-057-5 (ISBN)
Presentation
2016-08-30, Seminarierum plan 6, Teknikringen 42, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Demonstration and Scale-Up of Photovoltaic Solar Water Pumping for the Conservation of Grassland and Farmland in China
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, AKT-2010-040Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth
Note

QC 20160711

Available from: 2016-07-11 Created: 2016-06-14 Last updated: 2016-07-12Bibliographically approved

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