Solar energy has become increasingly popular for a number of reasons. It provides a free, abundant source of energy and is also environmentally friendly.
The sun’s rays can be harnessed to heat water and electricity, which can then be used to cook food. Not only does this save money on fuel bills, it helps to reduce air pollution in the area.
1. Energy Efficiency
Using renewable energy for home cooking and food preservation offers many benefits. These benefits include reduced carbon dioxide emissions, improved air quality, and increased use of local resources.
However, there are also a number of challenges that need to be overcome before renewable energy can be successfully deployed in the food production and processing industry. These include the need for significant upfront investment, reliable power supplies, and government subsidies and incentives.
Fortunately, there are a variety of options available for food processing facilities to transition to renewable energy. These options include solar and wind energy, hydroelectric power, and geothermal heat.
2. Reduced Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Using renewable energy for home cooking and food preservation can reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This can help to protect the environment and reduce the global temperature by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power generation and transportation.
Various forms of renewable energy can be used in the food processing industry, including ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), tidal energy and solar power. By implementing these technologies, food companies can save money on their electricity bills and improve the efficiency of their processing systems.
A study conducted by the International Energy Agency found that clean cooking options have reduced environmental impacts compared with the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario. However, these scenarios also have higher local health impacts, primarily due to the use of solid biomass.
3. Reduced Water Consumption
Approximately 2.1 billion people are not able to access clean drinking water. Without access to this vital resource, they suffer from serious health problems like diarrhea and other disease.
Purchasing renewable energy in countries with high water stress could reduce the amount of water consumed by food-and-beverage-processing companies and chemical companies (Exhibit 3). A five-percentage-point increase in purchases from renewables would lower their water consumption by about 6 percent, while a 50-percentage-point increase in renewables would cut it by more than 60 percent for both sectors.
The study considered both life cycle and local impacts, comparing seven cooking fuels – liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), kerosene, wood, biogas from manure, charcoal and crop residues – in three 2030 scenarios. A fuel mix combining liquefied petroleum gas, biogas and renewable electricity had the lowest impacts.
4. Increased Product Lifespan
Renewable energy is electricity, heating and cooling from sources that are non-depletable and naturally replenishable, such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass. These resources are not susceptible to the environmental or human health impacts associated with nonrenewable energies, which include oil drilling, fracking and coal power plants.
Several recent studies have shown that solar dryers and collectors are commercially viable for dehydration, drying, packaging and value addition of food in rural settings. These solar technologies reduce the amount of fuel used by up to 80% or more when compared with other options.
Using clean cooking fuels reduces local impacts on health, freeing up women and children’s time for education and other activities that improve their living standards and well-being. In addition, cleaner cookstoves provide more opportunities for income generation.
5. Reduction in Waste
Renewable energy is a type of power generation that does not deplete non-renewable resources (water, soil and fossil fuels). It relies on natural sources that replenish themselves over time.
This means that, unlike fossil fuels, renewables can be used to generate electricity, heat homes, and cook food. They can be derived from renewable resources including wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal.
Using biogas to generate electricity from organic wastes, such as manure or crop residues, reduces carbon dioxide emissions. It can also be used to replace fossil fuels, reducing pollution to waterways.