Seminar: Lorenzo Rosa

Tuesday, September 7, 2021 - 12:00pm

Lorenzo Rosa

Postdoctoral Research Associate, ETH Zürich

Climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions to food, energy, and water systems

Climate change mitigation and adaptation will be essential in keeping the Earth system within planetary boundaries and avert extreme climate change. Satisfying the global demand for energy, food, and water of a growing and increasingly affluent human population, while reducing environmental impacts is the greatest challenge of the 21st century. Global food production will need to double by 2050 to adequately feed the projected population. Can irrigation increase agricultural productivity while averting further environmental harm to freshwater ecosystems? I developed a quantitative agro-hydrological assessment model that investigates the sustainability of irrigated agriculture worldwide. I have identified regions that are suffering from agricultural economic water scarcity, countries responsible for unsustainable irrigation embedded in food trade, and regions suitable for additional irrigation based on water availability. Furthermore, I assessed how agriculture can adapt to climate change through sustainable irrigation. Using global climate models, I determined which rain-fed cropping systems hold the greatest potential for investment in sustainable irrigation expansion. In addition to food production, land and water resources will be increasingly used for carbon dioxide removal. The use of biomass for carbon removal has gained attention in recent climate change mitigation strategies. I have developed a framework to determine carbon dioxide removal potential from biomass feedstocks that neither create additional impacts on natural resources nor on food production. Combining process engineering with geospatial assessment, I have quantified the potential of sustainable biomass feedstocks to reach net-zero carbon emissions via bio-energy production with carbon capture and storage.

In this talk, I will show i) how agriculture can adapt to climate change via sustainable irrigation expansion and ii) how sustainable biomass feedstocks can mitigate climate change via bio-energy production and carbon dioxide removal. 

Lorenzo Rosa is a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zürich in the Institute of Energy and Process Engineering where he is assessing the role of biomass in reaching net-zero emissions through carbon dioxide removal. His research focuses on understanding the opportunities and challenges of satisfying global demand for energy, water, and food without further exacerbating climate change and environmental degradation. Dr. Rosa obtained his Ph.D. at the University of California Berkeley where his early contributions to the field of hydrology were recognized by the 2019 AGU Horton Hydrology Research Grant. For his work on sustainable water-energy-food systems as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions, Lorenzo has been listed among the most influential young leaders in Science and Technology of 2020 by Forbes 30 Under 30.

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