Dr Miao Guo awarded an EPSRC-funded Research Fellowship

Dr Miao Guo has been awarded an EPSRC-funded Research Fellowship. Dr Guo, previously working on WP4, explains her new fellowship and how her collaborations with the Maglue project will continue.

Posted on 21 February 2017.

EPSRC-funded Research Fellowship project Resilient and Sustainable Biorenewable Systems Engineering Model  (EP/N034740/1) 

 

Driven by a range of environmental challenges, e.g. climate change, energy and resource insecurity, a transition from the current fossil-based to a future sustainable bio-based economy is expected to evolve progressively in the coming decades. In the UK, the whole bioeconomy including all activities for sustainable conversion of biomass into bio-products, in total injected £220 billion added gross value and supported 5.2 million jobs in 2014. And its growth is expected to increase in coming decades. However, the bioeconomy transition cannot be achieved by partial system solutions or operation beyond multiple environmental boundaries. As advanced bioeconomy components, biorenewables are complex systems with considerable number of potential interconnections between resources, technologies and bioproducts and are multi-disciplinary. A range of conflicting and interacting issues are involved, such as resource-competition, trade-offs between economic & environmental targets, and the interaction of bio-renewables with energy, water and waste sectors under future changes. Therefore, the future biorenewable deployment calls for a systems engineering model for tackling resilience and sustainability challenges around bio-sector development. This EPSRC funded Research Fellowship project tackles such challenges the system complexity around UK biorenewables. In collaboration with Maglue team along with other project partners, ReSBio aims to develop a cutting-edge integrated model from stakeholder perspectives and use the model to generate new knowledge on sustainable design of UK biorenewable value chains, which can best adapt to and mitigate future changes and contribute to the UK future waste-energy-water infrastructure transition and bioeconomy evolution.

However, there are uncertainties in the greenhouse gases (GHGs) evolved from agro-ecosystems due to the dynamic nature of biomass cultivation, which include the spatial and temporal variability, crop management, and the land use change induced effects.  Thus the dynamic GHGs remains a critical research gap in biorenewable system models and the implications of spatially-temporally explicit and management practice-specific GHGs on system-wide biorenewable products are not yet understood. The collaboration between MAGLUE team and ReSBio project aims to address such research gaps and via developing open-source model, benefit wider research community.

The collaboration of MAGLUE team with ReSBio will focus on softlinking MAGLUE crop/soil models (e.g. ECOSSE) and ReSBio optimisation model and developing insights by applying the integrated tools to representative biorenewable case studies. MAGLUE team has contributed to the ReSBio model functionality scoping by participating in the ReSBio workshop held in Jan 20 2017 at Imperial College. Such close collaboration and cross-disciplinary joint research efforts will lead to the robust science evidence and engineering solutions to be applicable for tackling UK sustainability and resilience challenges and addressing UK bio-sector needs. As research outputs, a cutting-edge toolkit will be developed and representative case studies will be solved to –

1) understand the influence of future climate changes on agro-ecosystem GHGs and the derived 1G/2G biorenewable systems at temporal and spatial scales;

2) advance the understanding about the implications of spatially-temporally scales,  agricultural management and land use change on the system-wide GHG profiles of biorenewable systems;

3) develop insights into the research merit of biomass for representative value chains under future scenarios and the optimal configuration for the representative biorenewable systems to support UK climate change mitigation targets;

4) understand the biorenewable potentials in the UK over multiple time periods, and the role domestic and imported biomass will play in future UK bio-economy transition.

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