Using geothermal energy in food and agriculture

Traditionally, geothermal energy has been utilised mainly to generate electricity; however, according to FAO, it can be harnessed for other important uses in agriculture and agro-industry.

Developing countries rich in geothermal activity could effectively and sustainably exploit new opportunities in geothermal energy for food production and processing, according to a report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in April. The book, “Uses of Geothermal Energy in Food and Agriculture” perceives that agriculture and agro-industry are important sectors in the economies of most developing countries, where they provide the main source of livelihoods for the majority of the poor.

However, due to the lack of a sustainable supply of affordable energy post-harvest losses are equally high. This therefore makes the use of heat energy for drying foods, pasteurising milk and sterilising produce especially interesting for developing countries, where increased food processing can give a boost to food security. Consequently, food drying can prolong the shelf life of nutritious foods like fish and vegetables and make them available year-round, including in times of drought.

Geothermal energy is also a prime source for heating greenhouses, soils, and water for fish farming, the report says.
Developing countries endowed with this renewable energy source have ample potential to use it in advancing their agriculture and agro-industry sectors.

Download report:FAO

(FAO/Ob)