Integration of greenhouse gas control technologies within the energy, water and food nexus to enhance the environmental performance of food production systems

Tareq Al-Ansari, Anna Korre, Zhenggang Nie, Nilay Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


The sustainability of food production systems is inherently linked with energy, water and food (EWF) resources directly and in-directly throughout their lifecycle. The understanding of the interdependencies between the three resource sectors in the context of food production can provide a measurable account for resource requirements, while meeting food security objectives. The energy, water and food Nexus tool developed by the authors has been designed to model the inter-dependency between energy, water and food resources, whilst conducting an environmental assessment of product systems. With emphasis on the inter-linkages between EWF resources, the tool quantifies material flows, natural resource and energy consumption at component unit process level. This work integrates greenhouse gas control and waste to power technologies within the energy, water and food Nexus tool and evaluates the environmental impact of a hypothetical food product system designed to deliver a perceived level of food self-sufficiency (40%) for the State of Qatar. Multiple system configurations, representative of different pathways for the delivery of consistent food products are evaluated, transforming a once linear product system into a circular design. The sub-systems added consist of a biomass integrated gasification combined cycle which recycles solid waste into useful forms of energy that can be re-used within the nexus. In addition, a carbon capture sub-system is integrated to capture and recycle CO2 from both the fossil fuel powered and the biomass integrated gasification combined cycle energy sub-systems. The integration of carbon capture with the biomass integrated gasification combined cycle transforms the carbon neutral biomass integrated gasification combined cycle process to a negative greenhouse gas emission technology known as bio-energy with carbon capture and storage. For the different scenarios and sub-system configurations considered, the global warming potential can be theoretically balanced (reduced by ∼98%) through the integration of photovoltaics, biomass integrated gasification combined cycle and carbon capture technologies. The peak global warming potential, i.e. a fully fossil fuel dependent system, is recorded at 1.73 × 109 kg CO2 eq./year whilst the lowest achievable global warming potential is 2.18 × 107 kg CO2 eq./year when utilising a combination of photovoltaics, carbon capture integrated with combined cycle gas turbine in addition to the integrated negative emission achieving system. The natural gas consumption is reduced by 7.8 × 107 kg/year in the best case configuration, achieving a credit. In the same scenario, the photovoltaics land footprint required is calculated to a maximum of 660 ha. The maximum theoretically achievable negative emission is 1.09 × 109 kg CO2/year.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1592-1606
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2017



  • Biomass
  • Carbon capture
  • Gasification
  • LCA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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