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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Research project: MAGLUE

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MAGLUE will continue the work initiated by the ETI ELUM and NERC Carbo BioCrop projects, helping to inform the contribution bioenergy crops give towards the legally binding commitment the UK has on climate change and renewable energy generation (e.g. Climate Change Act 2008; DECC 2009; European Parliament, 2009). MAGLUE will provide new and improved information on the greenhouse gas balance and eddy covariance associated with land-use change to bioenergy crops within the UK landscape. This will provide key information on the effects of land-use change on greenhouse gases and also on wider ecosystem services. This data will inform the Supergen Value Chain Optimisation Model (SiM) outputs for improved optimisation in bioenergy chains. In addition to this we aim to extend our knowledge using case studies from North American forests, South American sugar cane, Eastern European SRC and Miscanthus and Southeast Asian oil palm.

Using biological material to produce feedstock for energy production such as liquid fuels (biofuel) and heat and power (bioenergy), can off-set CO2 emissions through a reduced demand for fossil fuel combustion. Using dedicated perennial energy crops to provide the feedstock may also contribute to CO2 mitigation by long term sequestering of carbon in the soil. The magnitude and importance of these contributions to the net energy and carbon balance of fuel production remains controversial with very limited datasets from long-term commercial experiments in the UK.

Second generation bioenergy crops (such as Miscanthus and SRC, the focus of the MAGLUE project) can grow on marginal land not designated for cereals, avoiding direct competition with land for food. They are a versatile feedstock for both biofuel and bioenergy and management requirements of these perennial crops mean they offer a greater chance for sequestering carbon in the soil then annual energy crops such as wheat and oil seed rape.

The multi-disciplinary team of MAGLUE has strong expertise in SRC and Miscanthus research from breeding and improvement, modelling of biomass production, and soil carbon turnover, long-term field trials with eddy covariance flux systems measuring CO2 and H2O exchanges and static chambers for trace green-house gas exchanges are available to the consortium.

The MAGLUE project will further data collection from previous projects (ETI ELUM and NERC Carbo BioCrop) with new management regimes at established field sites across the UK. The project will also utilise data obtained from outside the UK in order to gain a better understanding of spatial effects of GHG emissions.

For more information see our website


Funding providers: EPSRC, Supergen bioenergy hub and Research councils UK energy programme with accreditation to The Living with Environmental change (LWEC) programme

Funding dates: 01 March 2015 - 01 March 2018


Related research groups

Environmental Biosciences
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