If you are a food producer or farmer you know that energy costs make up a significant proportion of your expenses. This blog will advise you how you can reduce your energy spend. We will be make a number of posts on this topic- so follow the blog and check back every Friday. You will find this especially interesting if you are involved in the following sectors such as: horticulture, pig and poultry farming, dairy farming, pre-packing or fish farms.

Switching to renewable energy makes good business sense; it saves money, provides a competitive advantage, enhances your reputation and plays a part in reducing carbon emissions.

For reference: Teagasc Energy Use in Agriculture

http://www.teagasc.ie/publications/2011/1037/Energy_Use_in_Agriculture.pdf

Renewable Energy and Horticulture

Ever increasing energy prices, combined with the need to grow crops with a low “carbon footprint” mean that horticultural producers are facing increasing financial and social pressure from the multiples and the public to improve their energy efficiency. A recent UK study has estimated that energy costs in horticulture will increase by 20% by 2020. Energy costs often represent the second largest expense, after labour, for growers.

A case study was conducted by Teagasc with two commercial growers to investigate the benefits of using a solid fuel boiler instead of an oil boiler. It found that a mushroom grower using oil spent 282% more in energy costs for every ton of compost filled compared to another grower using solid fuel (biomass). The payback on the biomass system was between 2 and 3 years and as some biomass boilers have a life span of 20+ years, switching to biomass is a worthwhile investment.

A note on CO2

Because of containments biomass fumes cannot be used for crop enrichment. By using a kerosene or oil boiler for this task and biomass for heating only, you will see a dramatic decrease in your energy costs.

You may be interested to read about growers who have successfully switched to biomass:

http://www.enerpower.ie/case_studies/show/2MW-woodchip-biomass-boiler-installation/27

http://www.enerpower.ie/case_studies/show/O%26%23039%3B-Connors-Nursaries-install-wood-chip-boiler/18

In addition to heating, electricity represents a significant cost for growers and also pre-packers.

Installing a wind turbine is an effective way to reduce your energy spends.

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Wind Turbine

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