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Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 789; doi:10.3390/su9050789

A Web-Based Tool for Energy Balance Estimation in Multiple-Crops Production Systems

1
DISAFA Department, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Turin, Largo Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco, Turin, Italy
2
Institute for Research and Technology of Thessaly—IRETETH, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas—CERTH, Dimitriados St 95 & Pavlou Mela St., 3rd Floor, PC 38333 Volos, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sanzidur Rahman
Received: 13 December 2016 / Revised: 26 February 2017 / Accepted: 3 May 2017 / Published: 9 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Abstract

Biomass production systems include multiple-crops rotations, various machinery systems, diversified operational practices and several dispersed fields located in a range of distances between the various facilities (e.g., storage and processing facilities). These factors diversify the energy and cost requirements of the system. To that effect, assessment tools dedicated a single-crop production based on average standards cannot provide an insight evaluation of a specific production system, e.g., for a whole farm in terms of energy and cost requirements. This paper is the continuation of previous work, which presents a web-based tool for cost estimation of biomass production and transportation of multiple-crop production. In the present work, the tool is extended to additionally provide the energy balance of the examined systems. The energy input includes the whole supply chain of the biomass, namely crop cultivation, harvesting, handling of biomass and transportation to the processing facilities. A case study involving a real crop production system that feeds a biogas plant of 200 kW was selected for the demonstration of the tool’s applicability. The output of the tool provides a series of indexes dedicated to the energy input and balance. The presented tool can be used for the comparison of the performance, in terms of energy requirements, between various crops, fields, operations practices, and operations systems providing support for decisions on the biomass production system design (e.g., allocation of crops to fields) and operations management (e.g., machinery system selection). View Full-Text
Keywords: energy input; biomass; bioeconomy; web-based system; simulation; RED energy input; biomass; bioeconomy; web-based system; simulation; RED
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MDPI and ACS Style

Busato, P.; Sopegno, A.; Berruto, R.; Bochtis, D.; Calvo, A. A Web-Based Tool for Energy Balance Estimation in Multiple-Crops Production Systems. Sustainability 2017, 9, 789.

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