In the agriculture and agri-food chain industries there is a strong nexus between food, energy and water as it consumes about one-third of the global energy and 80-90% of the world’s freshwater production; freshwater production consumes about 15% of the global energy production (FAO, 2011a, 2011b; Hoff, 2011; IEA, 2012; IRENA, 2015). Therefore, the agri-food chain should be made independent from the use of fossil fuels, which have decreasing and fluctuating reserves but increasing long-term trend in cost, by coupling it to renewable energies such as geothermal. Geothermal water can not only provide energy, but at the same time a source of freshwater (possibly requiring prior treatment, that can, in turn, be done using geothermal heat as the energy source) thereby providing secure, accessible and environmentally sustainable supplies for both of these commodities. It can therefore play a significant role in contributing to future global food security and climate protection as well as other aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The benefits of using geothermal energy are often underestimated, despite it being a limitless, sustainable and constant heat source, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This makes its use technically simple, which contrasts with other renewables such as solar energy. Development and commercialization of geothermal water as energy and freshwater sources could have a significant contribution in the reduction of costs in the agro-food sector. However, much work remains to be done to make better use of geothermal energy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Engineering
- General Environmental Science