Fabian Stenzel

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) & Humboldt-University Berlin

Water requirements of large-scale bioenergy plantations in a +1.5°C world

We assess the freshwater limitations for terrestrial Carbon Dioxide Removal as a Climate Engineering option to stay within 1.5°C mean global warming (as part of the mitigation portfolio) or to set back warming once this threshold might be crossed (as a method for overshoot drawdown). This will possibly require substantial negative emissions within the 21st century (amounting ~10 GtC per year or more). We analyze, spatially explicitly, the availability of freshwater for irrigation of biomass plantations dedicated to achieving these negative emissions through CO2 assimilation, while taking account of the simultaneous water needs for agriculture (food crops), industries and household, also accounting for environmental flow requirements needed to safeguard aquatic ecosystems. Furthermore we assess to what extent different forms of improved water management on bioenergy plantations and on agricultural fields may relax the situation, i.e. increase yields without using more freshwater and without compromising soecosystem functioning. All simulations are based on the dynamic global vegetation model LPJmL.

Fabian holds a Master’s degree in Geophysics from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (2015). Since September 2016, he is part of the SPP 1689 of the DFG and writes his PhD thesis at PIK Potsdam and the HU Berlin. Prior to this, Fabian worked as a research assistant for the Department of Geophysics at LMU and conducted research at the University of Sydney and Simula Research Laboratories in Norway.