Biogas cogeneration: the path towards climate-smart farming and agriculture
By Athena Dennis
Wednesday, 08 October, 2014
World Bank Special Envoy for Climate Change Rachel Kyte delivered a worrying message at a Canberra conference earlier this month, stating, “Global agriculture requires a radical shift akin to a military about-face sooner than most people realise, in order to feed an exploding population while preventing dire social and environmental outcomes.”
According to Kyte, cereal yields will decline by 15-20% if current agricultural practices continue in the next three decades. In order to feed the global population of 9 billion people by 2050 with nutritious food, there needs to be fundamental shift in how we grow food and limit carbon emissions.
Recent research cited by World Bank shows that agriculture and land use changes are directly responsible for 30% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Fast facts about food consumption and carbon emissions
- Meat consumption in emerging economies of the world is expected to grow 75% between 2005 and 2050. This will increase to 30 kg per person, per year; this intensifies pressure on crop lands and generates higher carbon emissions.
- For every 1 kg of meat consumed, an additional 10 kg of feed is required.
- A recent CGIAR-funded study found that beef and dairy cattle account for up to 77% of global greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.
Climate-smart farming and agriculture: a paradigm shift
Unless we figure out new methods of food production, legislation and resource management, the world will face disruption to food sources - not 30 years from now, but possibly within the next decade.
Treading water to stay in the same position isn’t really an option. New and intelligent solutions are required to galvanise industry, government and consumers to work as one in order to better manage agricultural resources. Innovative solutions are required to feed the growing population of the world and also to protect the planet.
Climate-smart agriculture means providing an integrated and broad approach to food that factors in areas like sustainability, carbon emissions, climate change and nutrition. The answer to this issue doesn’t need to be a trade-off; instead, it can be a three-fold win for the natural environment, consumers and business: biogas cogeneration for agribusiness.
Biogas cogeneration: how it works
Biogas cogeneration is suitable for use in food processing facilities, livestock and dairy farms, agribusinesses and also food waste and treatment facilities. This technology is capable of up to 90% energy efficiency, resulting in far lower carbon emissions per tonne of food produced.
This sort of technology offers a win-win for agriculture and the sustainable energy sector. It provides the same food production levels while also mitigating against carbon emissions and therefore climate change.
According to a study by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation, biogas cogeneration is the most economical renewable energy source - especially for labour-intensive tasks like on-site meat rendering, which take up to 70% of the heat energy at the facility. Typical payback scenarios range between 3.8 and 10.1 years.
What this means for farms and agricultural businesses is that they can have an efficient and decentralised source of energy and produce food for a lower cost. At the same time, these businesses manage their energy consumption efficiently with a decentralised power source that uses waste products to generate energy to run the farm.
This method of power generation is at least 40% more efficient compared to ultrahigh-efficient micro-turbines. Biogas cogeneration is a prime example of how food production can still operate within a sustainable environmental framework.
The way forward
Evo Energy Technologies has combined its solid industry reputation in Australia for energy-efficient products with 2G’s track record of thousands of biogas CHP plants successfully installed in facilities all over the world.
First the company conducts a rigorous feasibility study to evaluate project risk, operational output, budget and all other variables. This means that all of the hard work is already done for feasibility by skilled project managers.
Right from the beginning, EvoET provides end-to-end energy solutions that are clear about service deliverables, the ROI scenario and pricing structure.
Bertini, Ilaria. ‘Climate Change Will Trigger A Global Food Crisis Says World Bank Official’. Blue Green Tomorrow. 28 August 2014. http://blueandgreentomorrow.com/2014/08/28/climate-change-will-trigger-global-food-crisis-says-world-bank-official/
Kyte, Rachel. ‘Growing Enough Nutritious Food Amid Climate Change’. The World Bank Voices Blog. 18 January 2014. http://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/growing-enough-nutritious-food-amid-climate-change
Burness Communications. ‘New global study reveals how diet and digestion in cows, chickens and pigs drives climate change hoofprint’. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2013. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216154900.htm
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