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Energy Efficient Food System - Essay Example

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Name Tutor Task Date Energy efficient food system Fossil resources have been the main form of energy production for the food system for many years, indirectly through utilizing of machinery, pesticides and fertilizers and directly through energy use in crop management both with an aim of increasing food production…
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Energy Efficient Food System
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Download file to see previous pages Form this explanation; it is very clear that any food system is affected not only by environmental factors but by also social, political and economic factors play a major role. (Michael Webber, Scientific American: “How to Make Food System More Energy Efficient” Jan 2012) expresses this point by looking at: 1. How food-energy relationships are changing. 2. What ways of food production are over utilizing the available energy, how they do it? 3. Ways of improving the food-energy ratio. According to the article, there has been an increase in the demand for energy especially fossil fuels and diverse countries are trying to fight this demand but are overlooking the food system as a major user of energy. There are certain farming methods which eventually lead to more energy being used to utilize food than that which we get from that same food. Evidence shows that there is a 10.1 ratio of energy input to food output and more energy is used to preserve and prepare food due to the use of more machinery like tractors. The author expresses optimism in improving this ratio, for example, he suggests stopping using corn kernels for starch-based ethanol as this seems like a process of interfering with nature. Conversion of agricultural waste like manure into products of power is another way to curb entering into the energy-danger zone. This can also provide vital nutrients to livestock and make more food available to us, for instance feeding of livestock by algal biomass will enable there to be more corn as food for humans thus less energy used for food production. Drip irrigation are among other pilot methods that have been used successfully not to mention improving our behavior like reducing food wastage and dietary options of eating lesser portions of food will go a long way in improving the 10.1 ratio. The high population increase in the world means a greater demand for food and thus higher demand for energy to produce this food. Some areas which were seen as non-agricultural areas for instance great deserts, were improved so as to be agricultural but there is still high energy consumption through transportation and irrigation and this does not solve this problem. Such a situation is described in instances where more energy is used to make food than that given out by the same food. There are instances where plants only convert less than 2% of solar energy into stored energy which is consumed by animals which are then consumed by humans and is again stored as glycogen instead of being given out. After thorough review of past experiments done by experts, the author believes that there is still hope in improving the 10.1 ratio. From studying researches done, it is clear that if the Americans stop using corn kernels for starch-based ethanol, they will be able to produce up to 15 gallons of corn-based feed-stocks which can be used as feed for both livestock and humans. Other ways of doing this are through; Use of cellulose sources for energy instead of food-based sources Conversion of agricultural waste into power using anaerobic digesters Using carbon-dioxide from smokestacks at coal plants to grow algae for food. Implementing agricultural techniques which have been perfected in pilot diagrams will also reduce the 10.1 ratio. For example drip irrigation creates less water wastage than sprinkle irrigation, in states like Iowa, researchers say ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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