Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Renewable energy

Image credit: USDA, Kitayama Brothers, Inc. (KBI) hydroponic greenhouses, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
10 January 2017

This paper describes the operation of a bubble-insulated greenhouse system that recycles organic waste, through its anaerobic conversion into biogas and digestate, into inputs for new food. It reports that commercial crop yields were repeatedly matched and bettered, while an 80% reduction in heat energy demand and 95% reduction in CO2eq emissions was realised compared to conventional greenhouse production.

8 July 2016

The Oxfam briefing Feeding Climate Change: what the Paris Agreement Means for Food & Beverage Companies looks at commodities and climate change and policy from the perspective of the food and beverage industry.

9 October 2015

Nine new leading companies join the likes of Ikea and M&S as part of the RE100 global campaign for low-carbon business. This global campaign encourages businesses to source energy from 100% renewable sources.

11 September 2015

In this comment piece in Nature, a group of researchers argue that putting a price on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to curb emissions must form the centrepiece of any comprehensive climate-change policy.

They point out that the current price of carbon remains much too low relative to the hidden environmental, health and societal costs of burning a tonne of coal or a barrel of oil. The global average price is below zero, once half a trillion dollars of fossil-fuel subsidies are factored in.

3 September 2015

This study is the first to quantify the relationship between human population growth and energy use on an international scale. It explains how global population growth has begun, in the past 50 years, to catch up with energy consumption for the first time in 500 years.  Until that point, each generation had produced more energy per person than its predecessor, which allowed for an increase in Earth's carrying capacity and in the number of people it could sustain at equilibrium.

16 July 2015

This report summarises research from scientific, policy and industrial experiences on energy use in the EU food sector. It acknowledges that while the EU has made progress in incorporating renewable energy across the economy, the share of renewables in the food system remains relatively small. The report discusses the way ahead and highlights the main challenges to be faced in decreasing energy use and in increasing the renewable energy share in the food sector.

18 June 2015

A new paper published in Environmental Science and Technology finds that measures to mitigate agricultural GHG emissions potentially risk increasing global hunger more than the impacts of climate change on crop yields itself.  The study draws upon global models to quantify:  a. the impact of climate change on yields in the absence of mitigation, b. the impact of bionergy production (as one mitigation measure) on competition for land and associated food prices and c. finally, the costs associated with mitigating the impacts of climate change by introducing a carbon tax.  Introduction of this tax is assumed to lead to increase in use of renewable fuels (wind, power, geothermal, bionenergy) and ‘abatement from non energy sources’ – which presumably includes agriculture although they do not specify what sort of abatement this would be.

8 May 2015

A new green energy initiative has been launched by the Japanese meat processor NH Foods. Their Global Water Engineering (GWE) Cohral plant (in Australia)will extract green energy biogas from the waste water stream of production, replacing millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas currently consumed by the company factory.  It is reported that the effect of burning the methane will save the equivalent of 12,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to removing 2,700 cars from the road.

12 February 2015

The first progress report of A Better Retailing Climate initiative has been published. It describes how retailers since 2005 have improved their performance against the environmental targets set out in the initiative, and that they have:

15 September 2014

The green economy is widely seen as a potential solution to current global economic and environmental crises, and a potential mechanism by which sustainable development might be achieved in practice.

27 February 2014

A recent study from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research finds that the UK is failing to make the most of its abundant biomass potential. The researchers found that almost half, up to 44%, of the UK's energy could be produced within the country by using biomass sources, including household waste, agricultural residues and home-grown biofuels. The UK currently produces about half of the food it consumes, and is ~60% ‘self-sufficient’. Although complete food self-sufficiency is not the current goal, the researchers stress that improved food system adaptive capacity is important if the UK is to cope with future stresses in the food system.

18 February 2014

The Danish Council of Ethics has launched an English version of its report on the ethical challenges associated with bioenergy production. The “Report on bioenergy, food production, and ethics in a globalised world” considers the production of bioenergy in a situation characterized by several major global crises - energy, food, climate and natural resources. Some forms of bioenergy may be a tool in battling the energy crisis and the climate crisis. However, growing energy crops may compete with food production and nature for scarce resources and thereby counter solutions to the equally acute crises concerning food and natural resources. The main focus of the report is thus on the ways bioenergy competes with food production and nature for scarce resources. The Council focuses also on the values that determine the choice of strategy in regard to countering these four challenges and points out that ethical deliberations should be more made more explicit in political decision-making related to major global crises.

13 November 2013

The European Commission has announced funding for three major research projects designed to promote innovation in the meat and livestock sector. The funding will come from EU’s outgoing Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

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