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N2O, CO2 e CH4 emissions from agro-biofuel production in São Paulo State, Brazil

Grant number: 08/55989-9
Support type:Program for Research on Bioenergy (BIOEN) - Young Investigators Grants
Duration: July 01, 2009 - June 30, 2012
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal Investigator:Janaina Braga Do Carmo
Grantee:Janaina Braga Do Carmo
Home Institution: Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). Campus de Sorocaba. Sorocaba , SP, Brazil


Brazil is the world's largest producer of sugarcane, with an annual crap yield of over 470 x 106 metric tons in 2006-2007, planted in approximately 7 million ha. About half of sugarcane in Brazil is planted in the state of Sao Paulo, where sugarcane is the main agricultural product and contribute to about 27% of the state's GDP. With about half of the global ethanol production, Brazil is already the largest contributor in the international ethanol trade. Yet, production is predicted to continue to expand due to geopolitical instability in oil producing countries and an increasing commitment from developed countries to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other green house gases. According to estimates from models and numerical analyses, Brazilian ethanol ranks among the best biofuels in terms of net energy produced for the amount of fossil fuel used in the production and, consequently, of CO2 emitted. Also, sugarcane craps in Brazil grow with less nitrogen fertilizers than other biofuel crops, such as com, which results in lower levels of nitrous oxide, a potent green house gas, during the production of Brazilian ethanol. However, the lack of real measurements and actual data about emissions of green house gases (GHG: N20, CO2, CH4) associated with the production ethanol in Brazil hinders our capacity to properly quantify its effectiveness at reducing emissions of GHG. Macedo et aI. (2008) estimates that soil emissions of GHG, which are not associated with the consumption of fossil fuels, account for more than 50% of the total emissions. Meanwhile, in situ estimates of nitrous oxide (N-N20) emissions from fertilizer application in sugarcane fields in Brazil Martins (2003) are in the order of 1 %. If confirmed with further in situ measurements in a more comprehensive study, these low GHG emission rates can have important implications for the sugarcane industry in Brazil. In this project, we propose to determine in situ emission rates of GHG from soils planted with sugarcane in the state of Sao Paulo during its productive cycle to improve and expand existent estimates. Except for one single study published by Campos (2003), in situ measurements of GHG in Brazilian sugarcane fields are practically non-existent, probably because N losses from fertilizers as N20 (N-N20) are assumed to be insignificant in comparison to other losses, and because fossil fuel use during sugarcane production is low because much of the management practices in Brazil rely on manual labor. With eminent changes about to occur in the sugarcane ethanol industry in Brazil, these assumptions need to be revised and new data collected to guarantee the low emission rates. (AU)

Matéria(s) publicada(s) na Agência FAPESP sobre o auxílio:
Study reveals low nitrous oxide emission factor in sugarcane fields 
Articles published in Pesquisa FAPESP Magazine about the research grant:
Un cañamelar más limpio 
Cleaner sugarcane fields 

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
MATIELLI RODRIGUES, GLEICE GUEVARA; FAULSTICH DE PAIVA, JANE MARIA; DO CARMO, JANAINA BRAGA; BOTARO, VAGNER R. Recycling of carbon fibers inserted in composite of DGEBA epoxy matrix by thermal degradation. Polymer Degradation and Stability, v. 109, n. SI, p. 50-58, NOV 2014. Web of Science Citations: 4.
DO CARMO, JANAINA BRAGA; FILOSO, SOLANGE; ZOTELLI, LUCIANA C.; DE SOUSA NETO, ERACLITO R.; PITOMBO, LEONARDO M.; DUARTE-NETO, PAULO J.; VARGAS, VITOR P.; ANDRADE, CRISTIANO A.; GAVA, GLAUBER J. C.; ROSSETTO, RAFFAELLA; CANTARELLA, HEITOR; NETO, ANDRE E.; MARTINELLI, LUIZ A. Infield greenhouse gas emissions from sugarcane soils in Brazil: effects from synthetic and organic fertilizer application and crop trash accumulation. Global Change Biology Bioenergy, v. 5, n. 3, p. 267-280, MAY 2013. Web of Science Citations: 33.

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