Water Bioenergy

Water in Bioenergy
Agroecosystems Workshop

June 12 & 13, 2012
Gleacher Center, Chicago, IL

Introduction

The Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) is a research and development organization that harnesses advanced knowledge in biology, the physical sciences, engineering, and environmental and social sciences to devise viable solutions to global energy challenges and reduce the impact of fossil fuels to global warming. As the world’s first research institution solely dedicated to the new field of energy bioscience, the EBI is proud to be the sole sponsor of the Water in Bioenergy Agroecosystems Workshop.

Water footprints are becoming a widely used tool for assessing the sustainability of land use practices despite the limited data sources, error analyses, and high uncertainty. To preempt the use of analyses with high uncertainty for water policy, there is a need to articulate the consensus view of experts in the field on data quality, model uncertainty, and gaps in knowledge. Join us to delve deeply with a group of water experts into the uncertainty surrounding estimates of water usage associated with biomass production.

Agenda

Day 1 - June 12, 2012

9:00 Welcome
Sarah Davis, U of Illinois

Session 1: Approaches to Assessing Water Balances of Terrestrial Vegetation

This session will address the methodologies used to estimate plant water use and plant-mediated feedbacks to climate variables that determine water availability.

9:30 Plant and field based measurement
Carl Bernacchi, U of Illinois
9:50

Watershed measurement 
Jim Vose, US Forest Service

10:10 Remote sensing
Brian Hornbuckle, Iowa ST.
10:30 Break
10:45

Ecosystem modeling
Sarah Davis, U of Illinois

11:05

Land-Atmosphere modeling
Ian Baker, Colorado State

11:25 Discussion
12:00 Lunch
12:30 Keynote Address
Evan DeLucia, U of Illinois

Session 2: Water Dynamics in Temperate Rainfed Agriculture

This session will address the quality of data and models for predicting water processes in temperate rainfed agricultural regions at multiple spatial scales. Speakers will highlight plant/ecosystem/regional limitations that relate to water and the water-related management issues that may arise as climate change progresses in the future.

13:30 Plant scale
Andrew Leakey, U of Illinois
13:50 Ecosystem scale
Andrew Suyker, U of Nebraska
14:10 Regional scale
Andy VanLoocke, U of Illinois
14:30 Climate feedbacks
Matei Georgescu, Arizona ST.
14:50 Discussion

Session 3: Water dynamics in dryland agriculture

This session will address the quality of data and models for predicting water processes in arid agricultural systems at multiple spatial scales. Speakers will highlight plant/ecosystem/regional limitations that relate to water and the water-related management issues that may arise as climate change progresses in the future.

15:00 Plant scale
Michael Salvucci, USDA-ARS
15:20 Regional scale
Bridget Scanlon, U of Texas
15:40 Climate feedbacks
Steve Nesbitt, U of Illinois
16:00 Discussion
16:20 Water Policy: A context for data needs
Jody Endres, U of Illinois
16:40 Workshop Focus Happy Hour
Focus groups: (1) Water measurement at the plant scale, (2) Water measurement at the ecosystem scale, (3) Regional and global monitoring of water dynamics, (4) Modeling limitations
19:00 Adjourn

Day 2 - June 13, 2012

9:00 Brief review of highlights from focus groups
9:30 Industry perspective on water for bioenergy production
Alistair Wyness, BP

Session 4: Water dynamics in the subtropical/tropical agriculture

This session will address the quality of data and models for predicting water processes in arid agricultural systems at multiple spatial scales. Speakers will highlight plant/ecosystem/regional limitations that relate to water and the water-related management issues that may arise as climate change progresses in the future.

9:50 Plant scale
John Cushman, U of Nevada
10:10

Ecosystem scale
Humberto Rocha, U of Sao Paolo

10:30 Climate feedbacks
Justin Bagley, U of Illinois
10:50 Discussion
  Break
Discussion Session
11:30 Focus group discussion
Reports from focus groups (5 minutes each)
12:30 Working Lunch
Focus groups discussions
13:30

Wrap up Group Discussion

What do we know we don’t know?
What do we still need to measure?
Can we make any generalizations about water demands for bioenergy?

Plan writing projects

14:30 End

Expected Outcomes:
The workshop will provide a platform for (1) organizing existing information on water dynamics that are important in bioenergy production and (2) identifying key research questions that must be addressed to assess the impact of bioenergy on water availability and quality. We expect to produce a summary document that can provide direction for EBI researchers. In addition, we hope to initiate collaborative projects during the workshop that will lead to publications for a broad scientific and/or policy audience that is interested in bioenergy water issues.