Promotie

John Upton - Strategies to reduce electricity consumption on dairy farms - An economic and environmental assessment

Dairy farms in Ireland are expected to expand in the future. In order to develop strategies to reduce electricity consumption associated costs and GHG emissions, it was necessary to understand the consumption trends and the hot-spots of electricity consumption within the farm. Electricity consumption was found to represent 12% of total cradle-to-farm-gate energy use, and was centered on milk harvesting. The ideal blend of technologies to maximise farm profitability while also reducing electricity consumption and GHG emissions, consisted of a direct expansion milk tank with pre-cooling of milk with well water to 15°C, electrical water heating and standard vacuum pumps.

Promovendus mr. JR (John) Upton
Promotor prof.dr.ir. IJM (Imke) de Boer
prof.dr.ir. PWG (Peter) Groot Koerkamp
Copromotor Dr. ir. L . Shalloo
Organisatie Wageningen University, Farm Technology, Animal Production Systems, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences (WIAS)
Datum

wo 1 oktober 2014 13:30 tot 15:00

Locatie Auditorium, building number 362
Generaal Foulkesweg 1
362
6703 BG Wageningen
0317-483592

The aim of this thesis was to assess how, and to what extent, do managerial and technology changes affect electricity consumption, associated costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of dairy farms. Dairy farms in Ireland are expected to expand in the future. In order to develop strategies to reduce electricity consumption associated costs and GHG emissions, it was necessary to understand the consumption trends and the hot-spots of electricity consumption within the farm. Therefore, we performed a life cycle assessment by quantifying the energy use on 22 commercial Irish dairy farms, from cradle-to-farm-gate.

Electricity consumption was found to represent 12% of total cradle-to-farm-gate energy use, and was centered on milk harvesting. We also discovered that milking earlier in the morning and later in the evening reduced the simulated annual electricity consumption and related GHG emissions by between 5% and 7%, depending on farm size. The ideal blend of technologies to maximise farm profitability while also reducing electricity consumption and GHG emissions, consisted of a direct expansion milk tank with pre-cooling of milk with well water to 15°C, electrical water heating and standard vacuum pumps. An individual farmer can also choose to increase his or her use of renewable energy by adding solar thermal water heating with the trade-off of reduced profitability and negative return on investment figures. This analysis highlighted the need for an investment appraisal approach to technology investments on dairy farms.