Extrapolation Domains for Aggregating Environmental Outcomes from Local to Regional Levels

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Exploratory Topics
Lincoln, Nebraska
Project Term:
04/15/2022 - 04/14/2023

Critical Need:

This topic works to establish validation sites for field-level emissions quantification of agricultural bioenergy feedstock production. These teams will work towards the development of “ground truth” solutions to establish measurements and protocols for emissions monitoring at the field level to create publically available, open-source, high-resolution datasets to support testing and validation of emerging biofuel production monitoring technologies. The projects will also compliment selections in ARPA-E’s full SMARTFARM program, further supporting and validating the selections made through this full funding opportunity. Ethanol production is one of the largest consumers of domestic grain in the U.S., and developing sustainable production methods for ethanol and bio-based fuels has great potential to both reduce emissions and potentially provide a net emissions-free source of energy. While the economic and emissions impacts of ethanol production nationally are clear, field-level contributions remain unclear. The lack of understanding of field-level feedstock emissions, combined with the absence of economic incentives beyond yield, leaves feedstock producers to estimate and assume risks to their primary revenue stream by new management practices. By establishing sites and protocols for measuring the impact on yield increasing and emissions reducing technologies, these teams will bridge the technology gap between feedstock producers and existing market incentives to de-risk sustainable management practices, defray the cost of monitoring their impact, reduce biofuel feedstock production emissions, and broadly enable a future carbon farming industry.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UN-L) team will use their unique technology extrapolation domain (TED) framework to select agricultural sites to measure, aggregate, and validate local and regional environmental outcomes, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The team will provide a proof of concept leveraging data from SMARTFARM Phase 1 projects case studies, including soil organic carbon data, topographical data, soil pH, remote imagery, and other data collected by soil sensors, soil chambers, and eddy flux covariance towers. The UN-L team will support other TED applications as needed within the SMARTFARM program, including adding layers to the TED framework for soybean, sorghum, and rice.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Marina Sofos
Project Contact:
Patricio Grassini
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