Global demand for food and water is expected to grow by 50% by mid-century, placing increasing pressure on existing water, energy and food systems. This increase in demand for food presents an opportunity for clean energy technologies such as geothermal energy to support the development of “sustainable food systems”.
The use of geothermal heat in the agri-food value chains has several benefits, including increased food productivity due to growing crops and animals in optimal environments, and reduced food spoilage due to timely processing, drying/dehydration and cold storage/refrigeration. Other benefits include empowering women and youth who are heavily involved in food production, particularly in developing countries, and a general improvement in the living standards of local communities.
This IRENA report provides recommendations to accelerate the deployment of geothermal energy in the agri-food sector. It addresses challenges related to inadequate data on geothermal resources and existing heating demand for agri-food applications; absent or misaligned enabling framework conditions; inadequate financing; and lack of awareness. It also highlights case studies for geothermal agri-food applications from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania.