Strategic Program to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Food Industry

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Aydin Kilic, Adnan Midilli and Ibrahim Dincer

10.1 Introduction

Global warming is considered a problem caused by combined worldwide greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. Many greenhouse gases occur naturally as a result of Earth's geological, hydrological, and biological cycles. They include water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and ozone (O3). In addition, other photochemically important gases, such as carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), while they do not function as greenhouse gas, contribute indirectly to the greenhouse effect (Anonymous, 1998; ICF, 2007).

Energy resources are closely linked with the development of agriculture sector. Therefore, energy is a particularly significant input in the so-called 'industrial' food and farming systems, with farm systems based on synthetic external inputs and producing for the processing or global markets (i.e., several manufacturing stages and long transport distances) (Ziesemer, 2007). Agriculture and food processing systems play an important role to increase the fossil fuel consumption and climate change because of their significant energy use and agriculture's potential to serve as a sink for the negative externalities of energy use. In food industry, energy is used not only in planting, cultivating, and harvesting the agricultural products, but also in manufacturing and transporting the inputs, such as pesticides, fertilizers, and machinery and in processing, packaging, and distribution of final products. In terms of energy consumption, the food supply chain including production, processing, transportation, and consumption of food products can cause the environmental impacts, such as global warming. In other words, utilization of fossil fuels in food industry using these food supply chain releases carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that contribute to an increase in global warming (e.g., Dalsgaard and Abbotts, 2000; Pelupessy, 2000).

Considering the above explanations, we need to find a better solution and propose some potential sustainability strategies and programs to reduce global

I. Dincer et al. (eds.), Global Warming, Green Energy and Technology,

DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-1017-2_10, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

warming effect caused by food industry. Therefore, permanent and effective food strategies and programs should be put forward to increase the use and application of renewable energy sources and technologies in food industry.

Nowadays there is a great interest in studying the linkages between food industry and its energetic, environmental, and sustainability aspects. Therefore, in this chapter we present some potential sustainability strategies and programs to reduce global warming effect caused by food industry. This lack of information is the motivation for this work. Thus, the primary objectives of this work are to improve the understanding and to promote the strategic use of some potential sus-tainability strategies and programs that may help reduce the global warming effect caused by food industry.

10.2 Analysis

In order to develop and propose the required potential sustainability strategies, programs, and factors that may help reduce global warming effects caused by food industry, the following are important and are studied and discussed in the subsections:

• relationship between food supply chain and global warming,

• general processes in food industry,

• energy use steps for food processes, and

• energy demand and global warming potentials for some food products commonly used.

10.2.1 Food supply chain

In general, the food supply chain includes the number of steps such as production, processing, transportation, packaging, and consumption. These steps can create the environmental pollution that is one of the most important parameter to cause and increase global warming effects. In this regard, Fig. 10.1 illustrates the general food supply chain modified from the literature (Foster et al., 2006). As shown in this figure, raw material and energy enter the food supply chain. During processing, emissions including greenhouse gases and liquid and solid pollutants are produced. These emissions can pollute the land, air, and water and also create environmental pollution. Following environmental pollution, global warming effects can be observed locally, regionally, and globally. Therefore, it is recommended that emission-free energy sources such as solar, hydropower, wind should be utilized in food industry to minimize the environmental pollution increasing the global warming effects and to save fossil fuel sources that can be utilized in food industry.

10.2.2 General processes in food industry

The discussion concerning the energy burden of transportation is often distilled to examine the distance food travels from the farm to the consumer, or the 'food miles' of the product. The true energy expenditures of transportation, however, are much more complex. Method of transportation, fuel and loading efficiency of vehicles, and consumer travel all factor into the final analysis of energy consumption for food products. Transportation energy must be considered along with energy costs of production, processing, packaging, and storage of products, as higher energy expenditure for transportation can be offset by lower energy use in one of these areas (Ziesemer, 2007). In this regard, Fig. 10.2 presents a combination of some common processes in food industry.

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Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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