Mareike Jarosch

VOC emission from bioenergy plants


The formation of ozone and other air pollutants, as well as the extension of the atmospheric lifetime of methane, an important greenhouse gas, are serious outcomes of photochemical reactions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the atmosphere. Therewith VOCs harm the human health and affect the regional and global climate. Globally, plants release 1.150 TG carbon per year as VOCs. This tremendous amount exceeds anthropogenic sources tenfold. The quality and quantity of the biogenic emission is highly dependent on plant species and environmental factors. Presumably the regional VOC emission will be altered by the expected further proliferation of biomass energy plantations or rather the associated land cover change.

My research focuses on the VOC emission from energy grasses (sugarcane, Miscanthus) and fast growing trees (poplar, willow). The basal VOC emission in different development stages of the plant and its dependency from various parameters is analysed. Furthermore I investigate how agricultural cultivation strategies (harvest, fertilization, plant variety) affect the biogenic VOC release. Adsorptive enrichment of the VOCs coupled with thermal desorption and their analysis with the help of Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) as well as online measurements by Proton Transfer Reaction – Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) are the methods of choice. The subsequent extrapolation and modelling of the results from leaf to plantation and regional levels, should allow the integration of the findings into life cycle assessments about the examined biomass energy forms, finally.


Supersvisors: Heinz Rennenberg; Jürgen Kreuzwieser; Simone Graeff-Hönninger (Universität Hohenheim, Institut für Kulturpflanzenwissenschaften); Jörg-Peter Schnitzler (Head of the Department of Environmental Engineering (EUS), Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology, HelmholtzZentrum München)

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