Solar, wind and geothermal energy applications in agriculture: back to the future?

Bundschuh, Jochen and Chen, Guangnan and Tomaszewska, Barbara and Ghaffour, Noreddine and Mushtaq, Shahbaz and Hamawand, Ihsan and Reardon-Smith, Kathryn and Maraseni, Tek and Banhazi, Thomas and Mahmoudi, Hacene and Goosen, Mattheus and Antille, Diogones L. (2017) Solar, wind and geothermal energy applications in agriculture: back to the future? In: Geothermal, wind and solar energy applications in agriculture and aquaculture. Sustainable Energy Developments (13). Taylor & Francis (CRC Press), Leiden, Netherlands, pp. 1-32. ISBN 978-1-138-02970-5

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The agri-food chain consumes about one third of the world’s energy production with about 12% for crop production and nearly 80% for processing, distribution, retail, preparation and cooking (Fig. 1.1) (FAO, 2011b). The agri-food chain also accounts for 80–90% of total global freshwater use (Hoff, 2011) where 70% is for irrigation alone. Additionally, on a global scale, freshwater
production consumes nearly 15% of the entire energy production (IEA, 2012). It can therefore be argued that making agriculture and the agri-food supply chain independent from fossil fuel use has huge potential to contribute to global food security and climate protection not only for the next decades, but also for the coming century. Provision of secure, accessible and environmentally
sustainable supplies of water, energy and food must thus be a priority.

One of the major objectives of theworld’s scientists, farmers, decision-makers and industrialists is to overcome the present dependence on fossil fuels in the agri-food sector. This dependency increases the volatility of food prices and affects economic access to sustenance. For example, Figure 1.2 shows the close interrelationship between the crude oil price index and the cereals
price index. An increasing energy demand for cultivation is particularly important in regions with expanding irrigated agriculture using pumped water. This translates to a food-related risk to energy security.

The development and commercialization of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal provides great potential to reduce costs in the agri-food sector. For instance, in addition to power generation, the main uses of geothermal waters are for space heating, district
heating, spas balneology, aquaculture and greenhouse heating (Lund and Boyd, 2015). However, much work remains to be done to make better use of renewable energy in the agri-food sector.

The aim of this introductory chapter is to critically review recent developments in solar, wind and geothermal energy applications in agriculture and the agri-food sector such as processing, distribution, retail, preparation and cooking.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2018 05:14
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2019 22:24
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960311 Social Impacts of Climate Change and Variability

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