Effect of climatic variability on bioenergy production from maize (Zea mays, L.)

Efecto de la variabilidad climática sobre la producción de bioenergía a partir de maíz (Zea mays, L.)

p. 053-061

Costanzo, M.; Bonel, B.; Montico, S.


In this work, we tested the impact of the ENSO phenomenon (phases La Niña, El Niño and Neutro) on bioenergy production from corn grains grown in different soil and climatic conditions (Typical Argiudolls, north of Buenos Aires; Argic Peludert, northwest of Entre Rios and Entic Hapludol, north of Buenos Aires) and under different nitrogen fertilization practices: energy inputs (EI) of 3.877, 7.753 and 15.506 MJ.ha-1. The energy outputs (EO) were estimated from the simulation of yields obtained with the DSSAT v.4 software, and the values were subsequently converted into energy using a coefficient. The analysis of basic statistical parameters, analysis of variance, and comparison of mean values were performed. More variable EO values were found during La Niña years and under higher EI. Also, significantly lower EO values (p < 0,05) were found in La Niña years –EO values above the historical average were found in only 3 out of 10 years. The correlation between precipitation and the EO was high in the La Niña years, and low in the El Niño years. EI had different effects on the EO under the different soil and climate conditions and ENSO phase considered. The relation EO/EI was lower in La Niña years than in Neutro and El Niño years under all conditions, in turn decreasing with increasing EI. Results show that, in order to develop sustainable models, it is relevant to consider the effects of year-to-year variability in regional climate on the production of raw material for the bioenergy chain.

Key words:

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) - bioethanol - ecophysiological models.