CONSIDERATIONS ON RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES AND THEIR RELATED PERSPECTIVES OFAGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING
AbstractThis paper discusses some considerations and advances a number of proposals about the potential of Agricultural Engineering to contribute to the field of renewable energy, with an emphasis on biomass. Several areas for action are identified. First, general education and teaching of students who will go on to become technicians and professionals in the sector of renewable energies, even though the characteristics of the sectors are still fuzzy. Diffusion of the energy culture, a too often neglected aspect that is however indispensable to sustain the overdue penetration of renewable energies in Italy, is an additional area for action. Another critical area, energy planning, is currently viewed mainly as involving the assessment on more or less wide areas of energy consumption and for the scope of replacing fossil resources with renewables to meet some energy requirements. A more complex, overarching issue is energy efficiency, especially of buildings, which should be a mainstay of the planning process but is in fact not so clearly addressed in development plans for renewables. At this same level, all interactions among production sectors should be assessed, to enhance the role of agriculture, one of the new potential energy-producing sectors and one of the possible prospective suppliers of renewable energy for different final users, from households to the service sector and industry. Agricultural Engineering has the skills needed to implement all these different actions. A role for it in advanced research, i.e. biotechnologies, can and should also be envisaged. Its work in the renewable energy sector should closely involve microbiological, genetic, chemical, agronomic, and animal research to define the goals to be pursued and to implement intuitions. In this way, Agricultural Engineering would increasingly be characterized as Biosystems Engineering.
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