Sustainability and energy analysis of the lettuce post-harvest stage by Integration of PV

  1. Rasines Elena, Laura 1
  2. Molina García, Ángel 1
  3. San Miguel Alfaro, Guillermo 2
  4. Artés Hernández, Francisco 1
  5. Hontoria Hernández, Eloy 1
  6. Aguayo Giménez, Encarnación Pilar 1
  1. 1 Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena

    Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena

    Cartagena, España


  2. 2 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

    Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

    Madrid, España


21st EEEIC International Conference on Environment and Electrical Engineering

Publisher: IEEE

ISBN: 978-1-7281-8071-7

Year of publication: 2021

Type: Conference paper


Nowadays, the food sector is improving its energy consumption to achieve a more sustainable industry, and also in economic and environmental terms. Aiming to mitigate global warming and fossil fuel dependence, it is necessary to determine the carbon footprint to assess the main impacts of a typical food production system. Among the different solutions, Life Cycle Assessment is a suitable method to evaluate the environmental impact throughout the entire supply chain. Under that framework, this paper aims to compare the environmental impact of energy consumption in lettuce post-harvest activities using two energy scenarios: current Spanish mix power generation, and sustainable Spanish mix generation by optimizing self-consumption PV power plants and using gate-togate LCA. The global warming potential for years and Cumulative Energy Demand are also determined. As a result, we obtained 25.8 gCO2eq and 479.3 kJ/kg; and 17.8 gCO2eq and 398.5 kJ/kg, respectively, for both Spanish generation mix scenarios. Refrigeration energy consumption is the most demanding stage, entailing major emission contributions. PV installations can minimize said impact by 32 % in both impact categories. Further investigation should address the analysis of implementing renewable energy sources in other fresh vegetable supply chain stages, creating a more sustainable food industry.

Funding information

This research was funded by Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional/Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación-Agencia Estatal de Investigación (FEDER/MICINN-AEI), project RTI2018-099139-B-C21 (Karp0-LIFE). Laura Rasines acknowledges financial support from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación through “Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores 2019” Program [PRE2019-090573].