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Publication type: Article in scientific journal
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: The environmental mitigation potential of photovoltaic-powered irrigation in the production of South African maize
Authors: Wettstein, Sarah
Muir, Karen
Scharfy, Deborah
Stucki, Matthias
DOI: 10.21256/zhaw-1361
Published in: Sustainability
Volume(Issue): 9
Issue: 1772
Issue Date: 30-Sep-2017
Publisher / Ed. Institution: MDPI
ISSN: 2071-1050
Language: English
Subjects: Photovoltaic; Greenhouse gas emissions; Crop production; Life-cycle assessment; Maize; Corn; LCA
Subject (DDC): 333.79: Energy
Abstract: Agriculture is under pressure to reduce its environmental impact. The use of renewable energy sources has potential to decrease these impacts. Maize is one of the most significant crops in South Africa and approximately 241,000 hectares are irrigated. This irrigation is most commonly powered by grid electricity generated using coal. However, South Africa has high solar irradiation, which could be used to generate photovoltaic electricity. The aim of this study was to determine the environmental mitigation potential of replacing grid-powered irrigation in South African maize production with photovoltaic irrigation systems using Life Cycle Assessment. The study included the value chain of maize production from cultivation to storage. Replacing grid electricity with photovoltaic-generated electricity leads to a 34% reduction in the global warming potential of maize produced under irrigation, and – applied at a national level – could potentially reduce South Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions by 536,000 t CO2-eq. per year. Non-renewable energy demand, freshwater eutrophication, acidification, and particulate matter emissions are also significantly lowered. Replacing grid electricity with renewable energy in irrigation has been shown to be an effective means of reducing the environmental impacts associated with South African maize production.
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): CC BY 4.0: Attribution 4.0 International
Departement: Life Sciences and Facility Management
Organisational Unit: Institute of Natural Resource Sciences (IUNR)
Appears in collections:Publikationen Life Sciences und Facility Management

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