Energy analysis methodology for agricultural field crops - principles and needs for standardization

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Energy analyses are made in agriculture in order to understand the role of direct and indirect energy inputs as production factors, to find measures for energy savings, and to improve energy efficiency. Energy analyses are often used to compare energy consumption and energy efficiency in different farms and at different times. However, this may be difficult because analyses are almost always made in various ways. For this reason it would be very beneficial to work out a standard procedure for agricultural energy analyses.

This paper is based on findings from literature and on authors’ own experiences as agricultural energy analysts. This paper discusses the main principles of energy analyses for agricultural field crops and raises problems for further discussion. Essential questions are selection of the analysis method, system definition, direct and indirect energy inputs, use of secondary or primary energy, factors used to define primary energy input from secondary energy, and energy inputs of different indirect energy inputs (materials, services, infrastructure), and finally management of uncertainty.

Analyses already made have shown the importance of indirect energy inputs and especially the dominating role of nitrogen fertilizer. The energy input for nitrogen manufacturing can equal alone to half of the total energy input of the production chain or even more. Nitrogen is an utmost example but there are also other substantial indirect energy inputs such as seeds, lime, pesticides, and machines. Indirect energy inputs are relatively easy to identify but much work is required to define their input energy. An international, open access data bank for energy inputs and conversion factors would unify energy analyses, it would make them more transparent, and it would speed up the analysis process considerably. Up keeping of this kind of data bank would suit to an independent international expert organization like EurAgEng.
Originalspråkengelska
Titel på värdpublikationInternational conference of agricultural engineering CIGR-AgEng2012 : Papers book
Antal sidor6
UtgivningsortValencia
FörlagEuropean Society of Agricultural Engineers
Utgivningsdatum2012
ISBN (elektroniskt)978-84-615-9928-8
StatusPublicerad - 2012
MoE-publikationstypB3 Ej refererad artikel i konferenshandlingar
EvenemangInternational Conference of Agricultural Engineering, CIGR-AgEng2012 - Valencia, Spanien
Varaktighet: 8 juli 201212 juli 2012

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