Corinne Lowe, 2017, Chemical and Biological Engineering

This summer, I examined the potential of lignocellulosic biocrops (grasses and trees that can be used to produce ethanol) cultivation on abandoned cropland in the United States and what potential these lands have for additional carbon sequestration. Synthesizing ArcGIS, geographic information systems software, with ALMANAC (a crop yield prediction model that considers climatic and soil data in predicting crop behavior) and soil models that predict soil’s carbon saturation, I developed a strategy for calculating the maximum carbon uptake of a soil, along with crop yield potential. From this experience, I gained a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding climate science and learned how agricultural practices and ecosystem characteristics play a role in regulating atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. This provided me a more holistic image of what sustainable energy practices encompass and inspired an interest in further exploring what resource management and development could do for greenhouse gas reduction strategies. The research I conducted this summer has helped me develop a foundation for my thesis. I now also hope to pursue a career in the energy sector.