Livestock manure is one of the biggest sources of water and air pollution, resulting in nutrient runoff that leads to algal blooms and eutrophication of coastal and freshwater systems, and GHGs that contribute to climate change. This pollution can be mitigated by using bioreactors that produce renewable energy from manure, preventing the release of methane and reducing air and water pollution, while the digested manure can be applied to the crops as fertilizer. But manure distribution is costly and challenging, and the economic returns are not often adequate to facilitate widespread adoption of bioreactors. Integration of the food-water-energy systems has the potential to address these challenges by optimal deployment of new infrastructure (manure storage and bioreactors) to improve water quality and reduce GHG emissions, while ensuring economic sustainability by using reactor-generated electricity and nutrient-rich digested manure (digestate) from bioreactors as fertilizer. The project, funded by the New Frontiers Research Program, addresses this challenge by developing a multi-system infrastructure investment and location optimization problem, with potential for broad and far-reaching impacts both at regional and global scales. Specifically, the postdoctoral fellow will
- Develop a spatial optimization model of the manure distribution and storage system that optimally redistributes manure as fertilizer and for biogas reactors, considering both economic and environmental (water and atmosphere) criteria
- Use the model to design spatially coordinated policy incentives (subsidies, taxes, trading markets) for manure allocation, air and water quality, and carbon emissions
- Develop research manuscripts and presentations at conferences
- Develop new research questions and directions related to the project goals
The PDF will be mentored by an exciting team of interdisciplinary scientists: Basu, an ecohydrologist and watershed modeller, with expertise in agricultural systems, nutrient use and water quality, Moreno-Cruz, an energy and environmental economist, with expertise in climate change and energy transition policies, Tolson, with expertise in water resources systems optimization, and Saari, with expertise in air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, and its relation to climate policy.