IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

A comparison of energy use in conventional and organic olive oil production in Spain


  • Guzmán, Gloria I.
  • Alonso, Antonio M.


The current situation of worldwide concern over the emission of greenhouse gases and its effect on the climate demands an evaluation, from the perspective of energy efficiency and more specifically of non-renewable energy sources, of tendencies for change in the management of agricultural systems which have arisen in recent years. This article uses energy balances to evaluate the contribution of organic olive growing to the increase in the energy efficiency of Mediterranean agriculture, distinguished according to type of watering regime and intensiveness of cultivation. The results show, on one side, the lower energy efficiency of irrigated land as opposed to dryland (i.e. non-irrigated) regardless of their style of management and, on the other, the greater non-renewable energy efficiency of organic olive growing in comparison with the conventional production. Nevertheless, organic management could still improve its energy efficiency if it further adjusts and internalizes the flows of nutrients needed in order to achieve greater sustainability.

Suggested Citation

  • Guzmán, Gloria I. & Alonso, Antonio M., 2008. "A comparison of energy use in conventional and organic olive oil production in Spain," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 167-176, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:98:y:2008:i:3:p:167-176

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gonzalez de Molina, Manuel, 2002. "Environmental constraints on agricultural growth in 19th century granada (Southern Spain)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-270, May.
    2. Loake, C., 2001. "Energy accounting and well-being -- examining UK organic and conventional farming systems through a human energy perspective," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 275-294, October.
    3. Wood, Richard & Lenzen, Manfred & Dey, Christopher & Lundie, Sven, 2006. "A comparative study of some environmental impacts of conventional and organic farming in Australia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 324-348, September.
    4. Cusso, Xavier & Garrabou, Ramon & Tello, Enric, 2006. "Social metabolism in an agrarian region of Catalonia (Spain) in 1860-1870: Flows, energy balance and land use," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 49-65, June.
    5. Fredriksson, H. & Baky, A. & Bernesson, S. & Nordberg, A. & Noren, O. & Hansson, P.-A., 2006. "Use of on-farm produced biofuels on organic farms - Evaluation of energy balances and environmental loads for three possible fuels," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 184-203, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Rajaeifar, Mohammad Ali & Akram, Asadolah & Ghobadian, Barat & Rafiee, Shahin & Heidari, Mohammad Davoud, 2014. "Energy-economic life cycle assessment (LCA) and greenhouse gas emissions analysis of olive oil production in Iran," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 139-149.
    2. Quiroga, Sonia & Iglesias, Ana, 2009. "A comparison of the climate risks of cereal, citrus, grapevine and olive production in Spain," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 101(1-2), pages 91-100, June.
    3. El Hanandeh, Ali & Gharaibeh, Mamoun A., 2016. "Environmental efficiency of olive oil production by small and micro-scale farmers in northern Jordan: Life cycle assessment," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 169-177.
    4. Maestre-Valero, J.F. & Martin-Gorriz, B. & Nicolas, E. & Martinez-Mate, M.A. & Martinez-Alvarez, V., 2018. "Deficit irrigation with reclaimed water in a citrus orchard. Energy and greenhouse-gas emissions analysis," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 93-102.
    5. Torres-Miralles, M. & Grammatikopoulou, I. & Rescia, A.J., 2017. "Employing contingent and inferred valuation methods to evaluate the conservation of olive groves and associated ecosystem services in Andalusia (Spain)," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 26(PA), pages 258-269.
    6. Martin-Gorriz, B. & Soto-García, M. & Martínez-Alvarez, V., 2014. "Energy and greenhouse-gas emissions in irrigated agriculture of SE (southeast) Spain. Effects of alternative water supply scenarios," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 478-488.
    7. Topak, Ramazan & Süheri, Sinan & Acar, Bilal, 2010. "Comparison of energy of irrigation regimes in sugar beet production in a semi-arid region," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 5464-5471.
    8. Rafiee, Shahin & Mousavi Avval, Seyed Hashem & Mohammadi, Ali, 2010. "Modeling and sensitivity analysis of energy inputs for apple production in Iran," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 3301-3306.
    9. Pishgar-Komleh, S.H. & Sefeedpari, P. & Rafiee, S., 2011. "Energy and economic analysis of rice production under different farm levels in Guilan province of Iran," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 5824-5831.
    10. Schramski, J.R. & Jacobsen, K.L. & Smith, T.W. & Williams, M.A. & Thompson, T.M., 2013. "Energy as a potential systems-level indicator of sustainability in organic agriculture: Case study model of a diversified, organic vegetable production system," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 267(C), pages 102-114.
    11. Taxidis, Efstratios T. & Menexes, George C. & Mamolos, Andreas P. & Tsatsarelis, Constantinos A. & Anagnostopoulos, Christos D. & Kalburtji, Kyriaki L., 2015. "Comparing organic and conventional olive groves relative to energy use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the cultivation of two varieties," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 117-124.
    12. Rajaeifar, Mohammad Ali & Akram, Asadolah & Ghobadian, Barat & Rafiee, Shahin & Heijungs, Reinout & Tabatabaei, Meisam, 2016. "Environmental impact assessment of olive pomace oil biodiesel production and consumption: A comparative lifecycle assessment," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 87-102.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Elena Galán del Castillo, 2017. "Feeding soils: nutrient balance in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula c. 1920," Historia Agraria. Revista de Agricultura e Historia Rural, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria, issue 72, pages 107-134, august.
    2. Duarte, Rosa & Pinilla, Vicente & Serrano, Ana, 2014. "The water footprint of the Spanish agricultural sector: 1860–2010," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 200-207.
    3. Enric Tello & Marc Badia-Miro & Xavier Cusso & Ramon Garrabou & Francesc Valls, 2008. "Explaining vineyard specialization in the province of Barcelona (Spain) in the mid-19th century," Working Papers in Economics 201, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    4. Marc Badia‐Miró & Enric Tello & Francesc Valls & Ramon Garrabou, 2010. "The Grape Phylloxera Plague As A Natural Experiment: The Upkeep Of Vineyards In Catalonia (Spain), 1858–1935," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 50(1), pages 39-61, March.
    5. Iriarte-Goñi, Iñaki & Ayuda, Mari­a Isabel, 2008. "Wood and industrialization: Evidence and hypotheses from the case of Spain, 1860-1935," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 177-186, March.
    6. Iriarte, Alfredo & Rieradevall, Joan & Gabarrell, Xavier, 2012. "Transition towards a more environmentally sustainable biodiesel in South America: The case of Chile," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 263-273.
    7. Zeke Marshall & Paul E. Brockway, 2020. "A Net Energy Analysis of the Global Agriculture, Aquaculture, Fishing and Forestry System," Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 1-27, June.
    8. de Almeida, Claudinei & Bariccatti, Reinaldo Aparecido & Frare, Laercio Mantovani & Camargo Nogueira, Carlos Eduardo & Mondardo, Andrei Antônio & Contini, Leonardo & Gomes, Gláucio José & Rovaris, Sol, 2017. "Analysis of the socio-economic feasibility of the implementation of an agro-energy condominium in western Paraná – Brazil," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 601-608.
    9. Kander, Astrid & Warde, Paul & Teives Henriques, Sofia & Nielsen, Hana & Kulionis, Viktoras & Hagen, Sven, 2017. "International Trade and Energy Intensity During European Industrialization, 1870–1935," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 33-44.
    10. Blair Fix, 2019. "Energy, hierarchy and the origin of inequality," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(4), pages 1-32, April.
    11. Barut, Zeliha Bereket & Ertekin, Can & Karaagac, Hasan Ali, 2011. "Tillage effects on energy use for corn silage in Mediterranean Coastal of Turkey," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 5466-5475.
    12. Ramon Garrabou & Jordi Planas & Enric Saguer & Enric Vicedo, 2014. "Propiedad de la tierra y desigualdad social en el mundo rural catalán de mediados del siglo XIX," Historia Agraria. Revista de Agricultura e Historia Rural, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria, issue 63, pages 115-150, august.
    13. Yan, Cheng & Zheng, Zheng, 2014. "Performance of mixed LED light wavelengths on biogas upgrade and biogas fluid removal by microalga Chlorella sp," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 1008-1014.
    14. Adiprasetyo, Teguh & Suhartoyo, Hery & Firdaus, Arief, 2017. "Developing Strategy for Advancing Organic Agriculture as Sustainable Agricultural Practice," INA-Rxiv wb37h, Center for Open Science.
    15. Krausmann, Fridolin & Schandl, Heinz & Sieferle, Rolf Peter, 2008. "Socio-ecological regime transitions in Austria and the United Kingdom," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 187-201, March.
    16. Maria Espinosa‐Goded & Jesús Barreiro‐Hurlé & Eric Ruto, 2010. "What Do Farmers Want From Agri‐Environmental Scheme Design? A Choice Experiment Approach," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 259-273, June.
    17. Veronica Arthurson & Lotta Jäderlund, 2011. "Utilization of Natural Farm Resources for Promoting High Energy Efficiency in Low-Input Organic Farming," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(5), pages 1-14, May.
    18. Crossman, Neville D. & Bryan, Brett A., 2009. "Identifying cost-effective hotspots for restoring natural capital and enhancing landscape multifunctionality," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 654-668, January.
    19. Otero, Iago & Kallis, Giorgos & Aguilar, Raül & Ruiz, Vicenç, 2011. "Water scarcity, social power and the production of an elite suburb: The political ecology of water in Matadepera, Catalonia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(7), pages 1297-1308, May.
    20. Wood, Richard & Lenzen, Manfred & Dey, Christopher & Lundie, Sven, 2006. "A comparative study of some environmental impacts of conventional and organic farming in Australia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 324-348, September.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:98:y:2008:i:3:p:167-176. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Nithya Sathishkumar). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.