Exergy-based natural resource accounting in sustainability assessment of agricultural production systems

    Activiteit: OverigeAndere soorten (prijzen, externe en andere activiteiten) - (Co)promotor doctoraatsthesis


    This PhD thesis starts with a general introduction, including three sections. The first section deals with sustainable agriculture, and includes a historical overview of the meaning of sustainable agriculture, followed by a presentation of the current concerns, trends and challenges, mainly from an environmental viewpoint. The second section elaborates on environmental sustainability assessment, and more specifically on LCA. Also an overview of different types of resource-oriented assessments is given, followed by a focus on exergy-based resource accounting, including an explanation of the exergy concept and providing insight into its main applications. Chapter 2 fills the gap in scientific literature about how to calculate a cumulative overall natural resource efficiency in an agricultural context by developing an improved exergy-based framework, called Cumulative Overall Resource Efficiency Assessment (COREA). In Chapter 4, it was investigated whether and how dairy farms in the region of Flanders could simultaneously reduce feed costs and overall natural resource use in the feed supply chain without reducing farm revenues. In other words, it was identified whether a specific farm could achieve an economic-exergetic win-win or whether this farm was in an economic-exergetic trade-off situation. To achieve this objective, exergy-based resource accounting using the CEENE v2013 method was integrated with frontier analysis, a methodology based on economic production theory. Chapter 5 provides insight into the value of the exergy methodology within sustainability assessment of agricultural production systems. The strengths of the exergy methodology are illustrated with results from the case studies in the previous chapters. Additionally, chapter 5 discusses efforts that were made to translate research into practice in order to support the decision-making of farmers.

    Dagelijkse begeleiding Sophie Huysveld bij haar doctoraatsonderzoek
    Gehouden opUGent, Faculteit Bio-Ingenieurswetenschappen, Vakgroep EnVoc, België
    Mate van erkenningInternationaal