The wine industry worldwide faces increasing challenges to achieve sustainable levels of carbon emission mitigation. This project seeks to establish the feasibility of harvesting winter pruned vineyard biomass (PVB) for potential use in carbon footprint reduction, through its use as a renewable biofuel for energy production. In order to make this recommendation, technical issues such as the potential environmental impact, chemical composition and fuel suitability, and logistical challenges of harvesting biomass needs to be understood to compare with the results from similar studies. Of particular interest is the role PVB plays as a carbon source in vineyard soils and what effect annual removal might have on soil carbon sequestration. A preliminary trial was established in the Waite Campus vineyard (University of Adelaide) to test current management strategies. Vines are grown in a Eutrophic, Red Dermosol clay loam soil with well managed midrow swards. A comparison was undertaken of mid-row treatments in two 0.25 Ha blocks (Shiraz and Semillon), including annual cultivation for seed bed preparation, the deliberate exclusion of PVB (25 years) and incorporation of PVB (13 years) at an average of 3.4 and 5.5 Mg/Ha-1 for Shiraz and Semillon respectively. In both 0-10cm and 10-30cm soil core sample depths, combined soil carbon % measures in the desired range of 1.80 to 3.50, were not significantly different between treatments or cultivars and yielded an estimated 42 Mg/ha-1 of sequestered soil carbon. Other key physical and chemical measures were likewise not significantly different between treatments. Preliminary results suggest that in a temperate zone vineyard, managed such as the one used in this study, there is no long term negative impact on soil carbon sequestration through removing PVB. This implies that growers could confidently harvest PVB for use in several end fates including as a bio fuel.
Authors: Benjamin Pike, Richard Muhlack, Timothy Cavagnaro and Cassandra Collins
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide (Waite Campus), Urrbrae, Australia
Keywords: carbon, sequestration, vineyard, soil, biomass