Environmental Impact Of Renewable Energy – After studying the science of energy and energy conversion, students will evaluate some of the environmental impacts of pig farming and explore techniques to minimize negative human impacts by producing biogas from animal manure. Grades 9-12
Anaerobic digestion: A series of biological processes in which microorganisms break down biodegradable materials in the absence of oxygen. One of the final products is biogas
Biomass: Plant or animal material used to produce energy or as feedstock for various products in various industrial processes
Fossil fuel: A natural fuel, such as coal or oil, formed from the remains of living organisms in the geological past
Energy comes in many forms to perform various tasks. Petrol and diesel vehicles, tractors and generators. Electricity runs lights, irrigation systems, pumps, and heating and cooling systems. Propane and natural gas can be used as fuel for water heaters or propane dryers. Many of these sources of energy are non-renewable, meaning they have limited availability and can be depleted before being replenished. Fossil fuels are the most common non-renewable energy source. Fuel is a substance that stores energy. Renewable energy is defined as energy that can be renewed or replaced through natural reproduction or other processes. Biomass is an example of a renewable resource. The inexhaustible sources of energy include solar, wind, water (water) and geothermal energy.
In order for energy to be useful, it is converted from the source and then transferred from one place to another. For example, solar panels collect energy from the sun and then convert it from light energy into heat and electricity. Biomass is organic matter from plants and animals. Through photosynthesis, plants absorb and store energy from the sun. The resulting organics are then directly burned or converted into liquid biofuels or biogas that can be burned as fuel. Consider the following example:
Animal husbandry produces protein-rich foods for consumption, such as meat, milk and eggs. These products come from farms of all sizes and types and are produced by animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens and turkeys. Animal husbandry also produces many by-products. By-products are incidental or secondary products that arise when producing or synthesizing something else. For example, pork is the main product produced on pig farms. However, other products such as pharmaceuticals (pharmaceuticals), leather, brushes, pet food, cosmetics, etc. are also returned as secondary products. Organic by-products or “wastes” from animal husbandry include solid and liquid fertilizers, used litter, and spilled feed.
Proper manure management is the responsibility of all livestock farms, regardless of the animals they raise or the size of their operations. In manure management, best management practices help protect the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and provide useful nutrient transfer to the soil. Feces contain macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, as well as micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium and sulfur. The nutritional value of manure depends on animal species, feed ration and manure collection method, but manure is part of many nutrient recycling programs.
Farm manure management strategies vary by animal species and the type of housing the animals live in. Management strategies include plans for how waste will be captured, stored, treated and used.
While manure can be a useful by-product for livestock farms, its management presents some challenges. For example, manure can affect water quality if not managed properly. Excessive application of fertilizers to farmland increases the risk of surface water contamination. GHG emissions from manure account for 10 percent of global GHG emissions from livestock production.
A final challenge to be mentioned in manure management is that odors can affect residential areas located near livestock farms. There are many factors that influence odor intensity, including farm location, animal species, animal housing type, and weather (especially humidity and wind). Technology and research are helping to improve farmers’ strategies for effectively managing fecal waste.
Advances in agricultural technology over the past few decades have enabled farmers to feed growing populations by increasing yields and farm efficiency. Improved knowledge of science and genetics helps farmers selectively breed farm animals for greater efficiency. In addition to better animal nutrition, modern animal farms also produce large amounts of meat, milk and eggs. Farms can be relatively small or large in size. Regardless of size or method of production, animals generate waste that needs to be disposed of. Technology is finding solutions to efficiently use animal waste to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture.
The science of anaerobic digestion derives energy from animal manure (feces). Basically, manure and other organic waste are packed into airtight containers, and special anaerobic bacteria (which live without oxygen) consume the waste and emit methane. Methane is a highly flammable gas (like propane) that can run generators efficiently. This process has the following advantages:
When sharing statistics, emphasize to students that there are limitations to a thorough and objective assessment of the impact of human activity on our environment. Later in the course, students are encouraged to think critically about the application of statistics and the limitations of what they are telling us.
Introduce students to a career in environmental engineering, a branch of engineering that uses a broad range of scientific disciplines including chemistry, biology, ecology, geology, hydrology, microbiology and mathematics to manage human impacts on the environment . Watch Fertilizer Management at Smithfield Swine Production for examples of challenges environmental engineers face in swine production and their role in protecting the environment and helping farmers become more sustainable.
If students start asking questions about the efficiency of generating electricity from biomass, such as animal manure, encourage them to ask more questions. Is it economical to generate electricity from a biogas digester?
This course was created in support of Smithfield Foods, Inc. National Agriculture in the Classroom. For more than two decades, Smithfield has advocated for sustainability standards, including its industry-leading commitment to be carbon-negative in company-owned U.S. operations by 2030 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its U.S. value chain 30% reduction. Learn more about the company’s overall sustainability program available at smithfieldfoods.com/sustainability.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Accurately acquire and use a variety of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient to prepare reading, writing, speaking, and listening for college and careers; Demonstrates independence in gathering lexical knowledge when expressing important unfamiliar terms.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases used in text, including identifying technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyzing how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare and participate effectively in various dialogues and collaborations with different partners, building on the ideas of others and expressing their own ideas clearly and convincingly. Renewable technologies are considered sources of clean energy whose optimal use minimizes environmental impact, generates minimal secondary waste, and is sustainable based on current and future economic and social needs. The sun is the source of all energy. The main forms of solar energy are heat and light. Sunlight and heat are transformed and absorbed into the environment in many ways. Some of these transitions lead to the flow of renewable energy sources, such as biomass and wind. Renewable energy technologies offer an excellent opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce global warming by replacing conventional energy sources.
All energy sources have some impact on our environment. Fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – cause far more damage than renewable energy by most measures, including air and water pollution, public health damage, wildlife and habitat loss, water use, Land use and emissions, global warming.
However, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydropower also have environmental impacts, some of which are significant.
The exact type and extent of environmental impact depends on the specific technology used, geographic location and many other factors. By understanding the current and potential environmental issues associated with each renewable energy source, we can take steps to prevent or minimize these impacts as they become an essential part of our electricity supply.
Harnessing wind energy is one of the cleanest and most sustainable ways to generate electricity because it produces no toxic pollution or global warming emissions. Wind energy is also abundant, inexhaustible, and inexhaustible, making it a sustainable and widespread alternative to fossil fuels.
Despite its enormous potential, the various environmental impacts associated with wind power must be recognized and reduced. These include land use issues and challenges to wildlife and habitats.
Environmental impacts associated with solar energy may include land use and habitat loss, water use, and use of hazardous materials in production, although the type of impact varies widely depending on the size of the system and the technology used (solar photovoltaic (PV) cells) or Solar Power Plant Concentrated Thermal Energy (CSP).
The most developed geothermal power plants (called hydrothermal power plants) are located near geological “hot spots” where hot lava is close to the Earth’s crust and produces hot water.
In other areas, enhanced geothermal (or hot dry rock geothermal) systems, including drilling into the Earth’s surface and digging deeper geothermal resources, may provide more widespread access to geothermal heat.
Renewable energy and environmental sustainability, environmental renewable energy, environmental impacts of non renewable energy, environmental impact of hydroelectric energy, environmental impact of renewable energy sources, environmental impact of solar energy, renewable energy impact factor, renewable energy economic impact, impact of renewable energy on the environment, environmental impact of biomass energy, environmental benefits of renewable energy, environmental impact of geothermal energy
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