Although energy independence is a worthy goal for any nation, it’s not the only concern when it comes to how we power our future. We need solutions that are more sustainable, less expensive, and friendlier to our environment. But what if there were one resource that met all of those criteria? Land that could be used for farming—which we already have in spades—could also be surprisingly efficient at generating electricity… if we changed up the way we think about where and how the power is made.
Land farming of crops has been the backbone of humankind for
many thousands of years.
Farming and agriculture have played a central role in human development for many millennia. In fact, it’s hard to imagine what life would be like today if our ancestors hadn’t domesticated plants and animals to cultivate them.
Farming is the process of growing crops that are edible or used for other purposes. Agriculture is the production of such crops, along with raising livestock (such as cows or pigs) on farms to produce meat or dairy products such as milk, cheese or butter. Farmers grow crops using irrigation systems; they also plant trees that provide shade from the sun and shelter from winds—and some farmers use these trees as sources of fuel (eucalyptus oil) for their homes!
Farming of livestock came about more recently, eventually leading
to the modern intensive farming system which has seen land yields
The use of livestock to farm the land is, by contrast, a much more recent phenomenon. It began with the domestication of animals such as cows and sheep, which led to the intensive farming system that we know today. This has seen land yields increase dramatically but also had negative effects on biodiversity and carbon
A paradigm shift in farming is now required to meet growing global
demand for food, water and energy.
Globally, agriculture is a big part of the global economy. Globally, agriculture is a big part of the global food supply. Globally, agriculture is a big part of the global energy supply. Globally, agriculture is a big part of the global water supply and carbon cycle (more on that later).
In short: farming is an important industry across many different sectors that has been responsible for producing an incredible amount of goods and services since its inception thousands of years ago. Yet despite how important farming has been to our species’ development as well as its sustainability today, there are still some misconceptions about it—and even more so in regards to how large-scale farms interact with nature and contribute to environmental sustainability.
Land can be used for growing crops and producing energy.
Farming can be done using solar, wind and hydroelectric power.
Land can be used to produce energy and fertilizer.
Land can be used to produce hydrogen and ammonia.
Land can be used to produce biofuels
Land farming is at a crossroads. It has the potential to become an important factor in the global energy system, and it has the ability to provide a significant contribution to grid-scale electricity generation. But with climate change threatening many of the world’s food crops, land farming may need to play another role in energy production – as a source of biofuels or biomass feedstocks for future renewable fuels such as hydrogen.