Clean WateR3 - Reduce, Remediate, Recycle: Informed Decision-Making to Facilitate Use of Alternative Water Resources and Promote SustainableSpecialty Crop Production

  • Ingram, Dewayne (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Approach (Methods): (Methods used to carry out activity proposed, feasibility of methods) Water footprint (WF) is a measure of all water used for the production, distribution and use of each input material and process in a final product, expressed as m3 or L of water per functional unit (Hoekstra et al., 2011). Mekonnen and Hoekstra (2011) reported global average WFs of 200 m3 ton-1 for sugar crops to 2,400 m3 ton-1 for oil crops and documented differences due to production area in the world. Gerbens-Leenes et al. (2009) reported WF ranges of 1,400 to 20,000 L of water per L of biofuel for various crops. Carbon footprint (CF), expressed as kg CO2-equivalent (CO2e) per functional unit, has been determined for field-grown trees in the Midwest U.S. and container-grown trees in California U.S. Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) were conducted to estimate the cutting-to-landscape CF of a 5-cm-caliper Acer rubrum using common field-production production protocols to be 8.2 kg CO2-equivalent (Ingram, 2012a) while the seed-to-landscape CF of a 5-cm-caliper Picea pungens was 13.5 kg CO2e (Ingram, 2012; Ingram, 2013). The estimated seed-to-landscape carbon footprint of a 5-cm caliper Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ in the Lower Midwest U.S. was 13.707 kg CO2e and cost of production inputs and processes related closely to the CF( Ingram and Hall, 2113; Hall and Ingram, 2014). Equipment use had the greatest impact on the products’ CF in these studies. Kendall and McPherson (2012) reported that 4.6 and 15.3 kg CO2e were emitted in the production and distribution of trees grown in #5 and #9 containers in an intensive nursery, respectively. The use of plastics to cover greenhouses and for containers provide a significant portion of the carbon footprint for floral crops (Russo and Mugnozza 2005; Russo, Buttol et al. 2008; Russo, Scarascia Mugnozza et al. 2008; Russo and Zeller 2008). Although research has been conducted on the CF of water policy on a regional basis (Shrestha et al. 2012, Chang et al, 2012), literature related to the CF of water management in specific horticulture production systems is lacking. Life cycle assessment (LCA) will be used to analyze impacts of model system components and possible modifications of those components on selected parameters, including WF of the product(s) and the CF of irrigation and surface water management. Protocols for the current model production system(s) will be determined in concert with the entire team and managers of the collaborating nursery and greenhouse enterprises, reflecting current best management practices. Input material and processes of the current model system will be inventoried. LCA will be utilized to determine the contributions of each system input to the product WF and the CF of irrigation and surface water management for the current model. The LCA model will help the team determine the major system components on which to focus. Once the team identifies possible modifications in production system protocols through component and system monitoring research (Y1-2), the impact of those modifications on product WF and on the CF of irrigation and surface water management will be assessed (Y3-4) utilizing the model developed in Y1-2. Benefit (Expected Outcomes): (how the project expects to contribute to long-term profitability and sustainability of specialty crops.) Predicted impacts (WF, CF, and economic consequences) of model system component modifications will help identify components for more intense investigation and assess modifications as they are identified by the team in Y1-3. The LCA results will help communicate the benefits of recommended system modifications to production managers for improved decision making in Y5. Analyses: (How will results be analyzed, assessed, interpreted?) LCA will be conducted in accordance with the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) Life Cycle Assessment- Requirements and Guidelines 14044:2006 (ISO, 2006). WF will be determined utilizing ISO standard 14046 (currently in draft stage) and The Water Footprint Assessment Manual (Hoekstra, et al., 2011). CF will be determined in compliance with ISO 14067 (ISO, 2012), ISO 14044 (ISO, 2006) and the British Standards Institute’s specifications in PAS 2050:2011 (BSI British Standards, 2011). Sources of input material and process WF and CF will include databases such as the US LCI database, NREL (US Dept of Energy, 2012), Ecoinvent (Swiss Centre for LCI, 2012), GREET (Wang, 2007) and other targeted databases and professional LCA studies. The inventory will be validated by the team and stakeholders first then by the sceintic community through refereed publications. A robust, function-based model with WF and CF will be developed based on this information to allow for system query. Outreach Plan: (If appropriate include: science based tools disseminated, participants involved in delivery, how impacts will be measured) WF of individual production components and CF of irrigation and surface water management will be incorporated into a comprehensive and integrated model with an interface appropriate for enterprise managers. Outreach efforts will include presentations and publications explaining the science behind the results and the outputs. This will be accomplished as part of the team efforts toward manager adoption. Limitations/Pitfalls to proposed procedures: Definitive WFs for some input materials may be lacking, although LCA databases are becoming more populated with WFs. The identification of validated input WFs could require more time than anticipated. Hazards: (if hazards exist, full explanation of materials, procedures, situations, or activities related to the project that may be hazardous to personnel, along with outline or precautions to be exercised to avoid/mitigate the effects of such hazards)
Effective start/end date9/1/148/31/19


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