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Embodied energy in agricultural inputs. Incorporating a historical perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Eduardo Aguilera

    ()

  • Gloria I. Guzmán
  • Juan Infante-Amate
  • David Soto
  • Roberto García-Ruiz
  • Antonio Herrera
  • Inmaculada Villa
  • Eva Torremocha
  • Guiomar Carranza
  • Manuel González de Molina

    ()

Abstract

This working paper analyzes the energy embodied in agricultural inputs from a historical perspective. The study is based on a wide literature review, which has been complemented with own estimations in order to create a coherent database including all direct and indirect energy associated to the main agricultural inputs with the maximum possible level of disaggregation. The inputs studied include human labour, energy carriers such as fuels and electricity, materials, machinery, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, organic inputs, propagation material, irrigation inputs, buildings, greenhouses, transport and non-material services. For each input we describe its historical evolution from an energetic perspective, the most common methods used for the calculation of its embodied energy published in the literature and temporal data series on the historical evolution of this energy. The temporal data series are expressed in 10-year time-steps and, in the majority of cases, they cover the whole 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century. The values provided are global averages or covering the main producing regions. The results show the large changes that have occurred in the energy efficiency of the production of agricultural inputs, underlining the need for the use of dynamic coefficients in historical energy analyses of agricultural systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo Aguilera & Gloria I. Guzmán & Juan Infante-Amate & David Soto & Roberto García-Ruiz & Antonio Herrera & Inmaculada Villa & Eva Torremocha & Guiomar Carranza & Manuel González de Molina, 2015. "Embodied energy in agricultural inputs. Incorporating a historical perspective," Documentos de Trabajo de la Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria 1507, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria.
  • Handle: RePEc:seh:wpaper:1507
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    Cited by:

    1. Tello, E. & Galán, E. & Sacristán, V. & Cunfer, G. & Guzmán, G.I. & González de Molina, M. & Krausmann, F. & Gingrich, S. & Padró, R. & Marco, I. & Moreno-Delgado, D., 2016. "Opening the black box of energy throughputs in farm systems: A decomposition analysis between the energy returns to external inputs, internal biomass reuses and total inputs consumed (the Vallès Count," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 160-174.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2348-:d:123196 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Galán, E. & Padró, R. & Marco, I. & Tello, E. & Cunfer, G. & Guzmán, G.I. & González de Molina, M. & Krausmann, F. & Gingrich, S. & Sacristán, V. & Moreno-Delgado, D., 2016. "Widening the analysis of Energy Return on Investment (EROI) in agro-ecosystems: Socio-ecological transitions to industrialized farm systems (the Vallès County, Catalonia, c.1860 and 1999)," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 336(C), pages 13-25.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Embodied Energy; Energy Balances; Agricultural Inputs; EROI; Life Cycle Assessment; Industrial History; Energy Efficiency;

    JEL classification:

    • N54 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: 1913-
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics

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