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Renewable Energy And Synthetic Fuels In Agriculture

A climate-friendly and CO2-neutral energy supply for agricultural farms concerns the electricity used for buildings and animal husbandry as well as the production of synthetic fuels for cultivating the fields. This strategy is in demand with many customers, e.g., the dairy cooperative Arla Foods, whose goal is the production of cow’s milk with net-zero CO2 emissions by the year 2050.

The operational energy system considered here included renewable electricity generation, covering electricity consumption in the cowshed, battery storage for times without electricity generation, the production of synthetic fuels and electricity feeding into the public power grid. Fluctuations depending on the day and the season were taken into account for electricity at 15-min intervals and for fuel per calendar week for one year. The aim was to determine the necessary capacities and the costs for renewable electricity and for synthetic fuel production of a survey dairy farm.

The results showed that a farm’s own electricity production is currently profitable; however, a farm’s production of synthetic fuel still has comparatively high costs and therefore is not yet profitable. Further technical advances, rising prices of fossil fuels and economies of scale, e.g., larger cooperatively-operated plants, could help new technology to make a breakthrough.

Keywords: synthetic fuels; combustion engines; photovoltaic; wind turbines; batteries; economy


Author(s): Fuchs C. (1), Meyer D. (1), Poehls A. (1)

Organization(s): University of Applied Sciences (1)