ERE Energy, Resources and the Environment
The 2016 Division Outstanding Young Scientists Award is awarded to Ali Mohammadi for investigating the interaction between agro-ecosystems and the environment, mainly energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, an especially important research area for developing countries.
Ali is currently researching biochar-bioenergy systems at the University of New England (Australia), mainly assessing the environmental performance of biochar production for application to Vietnamese paddy fields as a soil amendment. He has modelled pyrolysis technologies which generate recoverable energy as well as biochar, at different scales ranging from small household units to large bioenergy power plants. His work found that converting biomass into biochar and mixing it with soil significantly mitigates the climate-change effect of rice cropping systems through carbon sequestration and suppression of soil greenhouse gas emissions compared with baseline scenarios. These results could improve understanding of biochar as an effective strategy, specifically in developing regions, to reduce global warming by its recalcitrant carbon storage in soil.
In the last eight years, Ali has worked on energy use efficiency in agriculture, greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation potentials. He has collaborated on several research projects on Iranian agronomic systems aiming for the enhancement of energy productivity via efficient use of energy on field operations and energy-intensive inputs, and the utilisation of crop residues for bioenergy generation. The results have been published in high-profile scientific journals and have attracted many citations. In 2011-2013, he was invited as a visiting research fellow at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) and Aarhus University (Denmark).