Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Indo-US Workshop on Addressing the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water April 19-21, 2017, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India


Copyright 2017 Adam Liska


Soil organic carbon (SOC) levels are the balance of carbon inputs from plant material and loss from oxidation to CO2 (SOC = IC - kCoc) SOC tends to decrease as atmospheric temperature increases.

In the US, SOC levels are highest in the north central region (Iowa) where maize & soybean are grown at high yields.

In the US, gross energy yield of biofuel production can be increased by using both maize grain & maize residue.

Are the US results relevant for India if crop residues are used for biofuels?

India’s estimated biomass production & potential in 2014 (Indian government supported study)

Other impacts of increased residue use are perhaps more important issues than C-intensity of biofuels

Increased residue removal would probably have major negative impacts on agricultural productivity:

1) Soil erosion increase (water & wind) = lower crop yields

2) Soil moisture decrease = lower crop yields

3) SOC decrease = nutrient decreases = lower crop yields

R. Lal (2004): “The close link between soil C sequestration and world food security on the one hand and climate change on the other can neither be overemphasized nor ignored.”