Potential of Remote Sensing in estimating Biogas production (BIOSPEC)

In collaboration with the Luxembourg based Public Research Centre Gabriel Lippmann, LuxSpace has been entrusted by the Luxembourg Research Ministry to carry out a study on the “Potential of Remote Sensing in estimating Biogas production (BIOSPEC)”.

In the context of Renewable energy / Bioenergy there is a need for information on biomass quantity and quality, including data for example on organic content and sanitary status for optimizing the exploitation of energy crops, for example to estimate the potential for Bio-Ethanol, Biogas (methane content) and Bio-Diesel (lipid content).  Such information is currently compiled by substrate analysis of samples from the field and extrapolated for the entire growing area.  Due to the limitations of the available methods, such analyses take at least 30 days before the results are available.  Information on the sanitary status of crops, for example on fungal infestation (e.g. septoria tritici on wheat), is also important, especially if available at an early stage of the affection enabling reaction.

Using multi-spectral or hyper-spectral data acquired from airborne or satellite platforms in combination with agro-meterological modeling for crop growth estimation might allow retrieval of the needed information at a fraction of the currently needed time.  The bio-chemical features of crops can be detected using spectral data, as well as the yellowing of the leaves in the case of the above mentioned fungus.  In combination with calibration data measured on the ground and adequate modeling decision-making can be supported. 

Objectives of this 6-months study were to identify the user requirements, to evaluate the existing remote sensing based techniques and to demonstrate the concept of using remote sensing data to estimate the biogas potential on the example of maize.

The results of the study were presented at the “Luxembourg Earth Observation Day” organised by CRP-GL in March 2012.