RENEWABLE ENERGY IN AGRICULTURE
FPI believes that energy is vital to human existence as it is required to meet various basic human needs ranging from food production to economic development (Oyedepo, 2012a; 2012b). Important activities that require energy inputs include:
Rural area agricultural activities (irrigation, land preparation, and fertilization, livestock rearing operations); household activities (lighting, food processing, and conservation; cooking); commercial activities (lighting, processing); community and social services (water pumping, refrigeration in health centres, lighting of communal buildings) (Babatunde et al., 2018).
Agriculture in rural areas requires intensive energy due to the following agricultural activities; water pumping for irrigation, refrigeration, drying agricultural products, livestock, and many others in order to produce food for mankind (Oyedepo, 2013). These crucial agricultural operations are, however, of serious concern to stakeholders because a balance needs to be struck technically and economically to maintain a sustainable environment. Invest in our work, work with us, let’s join hands in creating a just and sustainable world
Applications of Renewable Energy in Agriculture
FPI's projects promote the use of solar energy as a useful source of energy in agriculture in various ways which include maximizing self-reliance, saving funds, and reducing pollution.
Solar energy can be used in agriculture in a number of ways, saving money, increasing self-reliance, and reducing pollution. Solar energy can cut a farm's electricity and heating bills. Solar heat collectors can be used to dry crops and warm homes, livestock buildings, and greenhouses.
Benefits of solar-powered irrigation for agricultural production. Solar technologies are becoming a viable option for both large and small-scale farmers. Solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS) provide reliable and affordable energy, potentially reducing energy costs for irrigation.
Solar energy reduces electricity consumption thereby saving costs. Solar energy is advantageous in agricultural applications by ensuring:
• Low cost of farm operations through the elimination of fuel/ diesel use.
• Low rate and level of maintenance through the absence of moving parts in solar panels.
• System reliability thereby ensuring the efficiency of farm operations.
• Clean form of energy thereby preventing gas emissions and ensuring environmental conservation.
With photovoltaic (PV) systems, there is a cheap provision of electricity for agricultural operations in ranches, farms, and orchards. The use of Photovoltaic systems is cheaper than the use of transformers and power lines for applications in farm operations like the lighting of agricultural lands, pumping of water for crop irrigation or watering of livestock, and electric fencing.
FPI supports improvements in technology
through the development of hybrid energy systems that will continue to increase the economic efficiency involved in the use of wind energy. This will encourage agricultural producers to maximize their engagement in wind power infrastructure for reductions in costs of energy thereby leading to self-sufficiency. Wind power can pro- vide an important economic boost to farmers. Large wind turbines typically use less than half an acre of land, includ- ing access roads, so farmers can continue to plant crops and graze livestock right up to the base of the turbines. The use of wind energy is very reliable and cost-effective for solving various needs of power on ranches and farms. Wind turbines can be used for the construction of water pumps for the purpose of irrigation and can also be used for generating electricity thereby eliminating the cost of installing transformers, electric poles and power lines which are used for conventional power generation.
FPI's rural development project encourages the use of biomass energy in small-scale farming without any form of artificial processing.
Agricultural biomass is matter derived from biological organisms such as corn, straw, plants, animal waste, offal and perennial grasses. As with other types of biomass, agricultural biomass can be transformed into energy and other value-added products, such as bioplastics, medicine, biochemicals, etc. Biomass is used majorly in agriculture to bring improved sustainability to farming systems. Biomass is also used for the development of biorefineries which have numerous applications in agriculture.
Biorefinery is an industrial facility or technology that converts biomass resources to energy and other valuable products such as electricity, ethanol, steam, biodiesel, and high-value chemicals. We invite you to explore solutions related to agricultural biomass in more depth and partner with us!
Renewable energy guarantees clean energy farming by carrying out agricultural practices whilst ensuring the protection
of the environment and improving the efficiency of energy thereby saving energy and financing high costs of initial investments in renewable energy startups, lack of technical skills on installation and maintenance, lack of societal awareness on the benefits of renewable energy, and lack of incentives to encourage agriculturists, and stakeholders in the agricultural sector to participate in the use of renewable energy. These challenges can be solved effectively through partnerships between governments and the private sector and through an international collaboration between nations. FPI recommends the following:
1. The use of renewable energy sources for powering agricultural-related activities can reduce the expenditure on energy and consequently increase the overall profit of the business. Flexible and cost-effective methods by which these technologies can be adopted are important.
2. With the use of renewable energy sources to power agricultural activities, emissions to the atmosphere can be curtailed thereby reducing the contributions of agricultural-related activities to global warming. Investigations on the type of environmental-related incentives that will encourage the use of renewable energy are of importance.
3. Business-friendly legislation that encourages the adoption of renewable electricity generation in the agricultural sector
should be passed. The creation of an innovative public benefits fund to leverage private investment in renewable energy
projects benefiting the agricultural sector is also essential.
4. The installation of small-scale energy capacity within rural agricultural projects should be encouraged. It will help in
ENERGY DEMANDS IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR:
In recent decades, energy demand has dramatically increased, particularly in the agricultural sector. The United Nations’ “Sustainable Energy for All” agenda spells out an interesting goal of doubling the global renewable energy mix by 2030 (Griggs et al., 2013). This transformation presents both challenges and various opportunities for the energy, water, and food sectors. Yet, research into the role of renewable energy within the water, energy, and food nexus, as well as the quantitative and qualitative knowledge on the impact of expanding renewables on these sectors, remains discrete and narrow (Bazilian et al., 2011). One of such opportunities is the adoption of renewables for farmland and grassland irrigation. However, agricultural irrigation exerts pressure related to water and energy security. This is because food and energy demand is dependent on both population growth and climate change. The principal technical bottlenecks to irrigation of farmlands are access to clean and cheap electricity as well as energy and water management in such systems. The use of renewable energy technology with appropriate management techniques can relieve the burden on the grid, reduce energy and water requirements in the agricultural sector and the cost expended on irrigation.