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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 519: XXV International Horticultural Congress, Part 9: Computers and Automation, Electronic Information in Horticulture

EVALUATION OF RESOURCE FLOWS OF TOMATO PRODUCTION SYSTEMS UNDER GLASS ACCORDING TO THE METHOD OF EMERGY ANALYSIS

Author:   C. Lagerberg
Keywords:   Lycopersicon esculentum, emergy analysis, energy analysis, resource efficiency, sustainability, tomato
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2000.519.25
Abstract:
Emergy analysis can be used for decision making at national and regional levels as well as for specific processes. This paper describes the method of emergy analysis using as example a study of a Swedish conventional tomato production system, i.e. a greenhouse system with rockwool substrate. Emergy analysis is concluded to be a useful tool for evaluating changes and alternative modes of action, addressing issues regarding resource use and sustainability. Emergy (from "energy memory") expresses the accumulated energy inputs in making the product on a common basis; by convention solar equivalents, i.e. solar emjoules (sej). The inputs of materials and fuels from the environment as well as service inputs from the human economy are traced back in emergy terms. This results in an overview of the resource basis of the system that is evaluated further by different indices of efficiency and sustainability. Since the energies required to generate a product or service are expressed in one common unit, the emergy analysis offers possibilities to compare systems with different internal resource distributions. The method deals with inputs from surrounding ecosystems as well as from the human economy and consequently assesses a broader resource base than for instance an energy analysis according to the process method.

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