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Of energy efficiency there is a lot of talk about buildings, the service sector and industry: but what about agriculture? The primary sector also has great potential in terms of energy efficiency and ENEA has estimated that a 10% reduction in energy consumption would lower the energy bill by about 1 billion and a half euros per year.
Then there are some interesting data, such as that of tomatoes. Did you know that in Northern Europe it takes energy equal to 26.73 MJ (mega joule) to grow 1 kg, while in Southern Europe a third is saved? In an increasingly interconnected European strategy, energy efficiency it could mean concentrating certain productions where they are less energy-intensive. In consideration of the fact that the transport component often has less impact on both energy and environmental terms.
The importance of agriculture in terms of energy efficiency lies in the fact that the sector plays a leading role in the management of both basic resources such as water, land and woodland, and in production with the agri-food and agroforestry chain.
In the conference organized by Veneto Agricoltura in Legnaro, in the province of Padua, it emerged that the sustainability of agricultural supply chains must be pursued through savings andenergy efficiency obtainable also thanks to the new high efficiency technologies. Both in production and in the distribution chain.
A type of latest generation technology that is useful in agroforestry management is, for example, the LiDAR technology (Laser Imaging Detection and raging) which, through remote sensing, allows to optimize forest management. Plan the cuts so that the forest is an inexhaustible 'mine', but not only. L'energy efficiency which can be enabled by laser detection also includes the optimization of cutting operations and transport.
Speaking of agri-food, we cannot overlook the fact that this is the most important manufacturing sector in Europe: 130 billion euros / year of turnover, over 6 thousand companies and 400 thousand employees. Which corresponds to 15% of the total energy consumption of the entire continent. The high weight increases its potential in terms of energy efficiency.
Among the measures forenergy efficiency and energy saving in the agri-food system there are several technological families: more efficient motors, compressed air systems, valves and high efficiency power transformers, recovery of thermal waste, panels for solar thermal and LED lighting.
Farms where production is done can also participate in the development of renewable energy chains with the adoption of solar technologies, low temperature geothermal, cogeneration and low-power wind. In addition, the modern agricultural company, as an end user, offers ample space for the adoption of innovative technologies that can also be new business and employment opportunities.