Saturday, October 18, 2008

Would you have thought...

...that a farm needs to become carbon neutral? If you look at the energy footprint of a modern farm, it's clear that they are significant carbon emitters. From the massive infusion of hydrocarbons in fertilizers, to the major methane release from sewage lagoons, modern farms are anything but non-polluting or carbon neutral. The BBC is reporting on an Italian farm that is striving for full carbon neutrality--from painting buildings a sun-reflecting white, to electric farm vehicles. They are also generating heat for olive oil production through on-farm wood chips (yes, that's carbon neutral. The carbon taken up by the trees is re-released into the atmosphere, it's the solar energy of the wood that is stored and then released).
The farm is in the Umbria region, and is called Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio.



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There is one bit in the article that bugs me.
"One of the key investments is in a unique solar powered battery re-charging centre.
Built by the Austrian company Cellstrom, the centre is a shed-sized
box with 24 solar panels on it that houses a revolutionary liquid-based
battery.
The battery can, for the first time, store solar energy.
Until now, electricity generated by the sun has generally had to be used immediately. It is one reason why opponents say solar power is limited."


Uhm, I have a solar battery charger for the car that I got from Canadian Tire. The car battery stores power from the solar cell quite effectively. Now, the car battery is liquid-based as well--lead plates and sulphuric acid. So clearly the Beeb''s reporter, Duncan Kennedy, was unclear on what he'd been told about what was unique in the battery system at the farm, and it is quite appalling that his editor didn't catch him up on it.
But the farm sounds very impressive (looks it too--check out the link to their web page above). This move to carbon neutrality is also impressive--Italy is so far ahead of us in food consciousness in a globalised world. Although Vancouver Island is getting better (particularly with the rise in public awareness of the 100 Mile Diet , the terrific produce coming out of the Cowichan Valley, and locally-based writers like Don Genova).

1 comment:

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