Energy consumption and environmental impacts of rice cultivated in Spain

Lead University: The University of Manchester

Professor Adisa Azapagic, Dr Alessandra Fusi, Dr Ximena Schmidt Rivera

Collaboration: Kelloggs, Ebro Foods S.A., IRTA

Summary

Although production of rice represents a significant economic activity in Spain, the environmental impacts of its cultivation as still unknown. This is despite the fact that rice is one of the major contributors to methane emissions globally and therefore to climate change. This project aims to fill this knowledge gap through a collaborative project with Kellogg’s as one of the main importer of rice from Spain to UK. The main goal is to evaluate environmental performance of rice cultivated in Spain, including energy use, and to identify hotspots and improvement opportunities. The results have a potential to help Kellogg’s reduce environmental impacts associated with rice, thus helping the company to improve their overall environmental performance.

A further goal is to consider the emissions of methane from paddy fields in particular. These are normally estimated using IPCC models in the absence of measured field data. As part of this project, methane emissions were measured by one of our collaborators (IRTA). These data will be used to estimate the actual climate change impacts of rice production and compare them to the estimates based on the IPCC models. These results will help to refine theoretical models for paddy fields as well as future LCA studies of rice.

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