In early 2016, “Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development” (PAEGC) launched a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in cooperation with TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences. The 8-week course introduced challenges and solutions for sustainable energy use in the agriculture and food industry. The free course materials and videos are available to all.
Around one third of the energy used worldwide goes into the production and processing of food from field to table. Given the current energy system mix, the agrifood industry sector is however heavily dependent on fossil fuel inputs for production, transport, processing and distribution, and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. With a continuously growing world population the need for food and for energy to produce it is increasing. At the same time millions of farmers and processors in developing countries and emerging economies lack access to clean energy technologies for irrigation, drying, cooling, storage and other processes.
How can these needs be met sustainably?
We have to produce more food with less energy, make energy use more efficient, and introduce and upscale more clean energy technologies.
About the Course
This MOOC introduced participants to the Energy-Agriculture Nexus and approaches for sustainably providing energy throughout all stages of agricultural value chains. Challenges as well as solutions are analyzed, concrete technologies are examined focusing on their utility to promote access to clean energy. Participants will further be familiarized with relevant external influences such as market conditions, politics, and financing schemes of “powering agricultural” projects. Learning materials, developed by well-known experts, are available as texts as well as videos and are accompanied by assignments that will require the application of the newly learned skills.