K-State Research and Extension News
February 28, 2013
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Biofuel Feedstock Production Emissions Focus of Global Research Alliance Fellow at K-State


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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Research into greenhouse gas emissions from the production of rice and biofuel feedstocks has become important to many countries around the world, including Vietnam.

This led Loan Thanh Le, from the University of Agriculture and Forestry in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to accept a fellowship from the Global Research Alliance to study emissions models for three months at Kansas State University.  

The research team Le is working with at K-State is led by Chuck Rice, university distinguished professor of agronomy, and Vara Prasad, professor of crop physiology in agronomy. Both Rice and Prasad have extensive experience in international collaborations.

The opportunity to gain new insights into research methods and computer models attracted Le to the program.

“I’m very interested in the topic of greenhouse gas emissions from rice and biofuel feedstock production, and eager to learn all I can from some of the world’s foremost experts in these topics at K-State,” Le said. “These emissions concerns are becoming very important in Vietnam.”

Le is interested in learning techniques used in emissions measurements, data analyses, and the potential impact of bioenergy production systems on climate change.

“As biofuels begin to substitute for fossil fuels, it is important to know how this could affect emissions and climate change,” she said.

To further her insights into the issues, Rice said that his team at K-State will offer training into the latest techniques on greenhouse gas measurements, and advanced work in computer modeling related to emissions and climate change.

“We’ll be using the latest models on carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions so that the fellows in this program can see the impacts of various biofuel crops,” he added.

During Le’s stay at K-State, which extends from Jan. 21 until April 29 of this year, Rice said that she will be trained on: (1) techniques of sampling soils from long-term cropping fields for carbon and nitrogen analysis; (2) methods of measuring greenhouse gas fluxes from the field, focusing on carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane; and (3) the use of simulation models and life cycle analysis tools.

“We’ll focus somewhat on models related to estimating emissions from bioenergy production, but the techniques and principles involved can apply to rice production and other agricultural systems as well,” Prasad said.

At the end of Le’s studies at K-State, she will summarize the results of her work and submit a report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and K-State.

Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Borlaug Fellowships are awarded under the auspices of the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. The fellowships are funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Fellows are selected from eight developing countries that are members of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.

As mentors of Le’s fellowship, Rice and Prasad will later travel to Vietnam, Le’s home country, for up to 10 days to continue collaboration.

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K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Steve Watson
swatson@ksu.edu
K-State Research & Extension News

Chuck Rice is at 785-532-7217 or cwrice@ksu.edu; Vara Prasad is at 785-532-3746 or vara@ksu.edu