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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L002531/1
Title: Energy Efficient Rural Food Processing Utilising Renewable Energy to Improve Rural Livelihoods
Principal Investigator: Roskilly, Professor AP
Other Investigators:
Ruto, Dr E
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Pens Food Bank World Neighbors
Department: NIRES Newcastle Inst for Res on Env &Sus
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 July 2013 Ends: 31 December 2016 Value (£): 746,938
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Mar 2013 Energy & International Development: USES Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The World Health Organization already estimate that nearly 60% of the world population is malnourished and unless serious measures are not taken to address this then the situation will be exacerbated further. A lot of effort has quite rightly focussed on increasing food production but this is dependent on increased use of valuable resources. The minimisation of losses in the food chain will not only increase the quantity and quality of produce but also reduce energy, water and land use. Postharvest food losses are approximately one third of the total world yield and can be up to 50% in some developing countries.

The use of fossil fuels has allowed a greater number of people to be fed and to ensure that the numbers of malnourished are not even worse. Developing countries have high population growth and are increasingly using fossil fuels in food production to meet demands. Energy input is required across the entire food chain and it is estimated that 7-10 calories are required in the production of 1 calorie of food. This is primarily from fossil fuels which will increasingly be more expensive and post-harvest losses indirectly contribute to increased greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. It is therefore essential that technologies and practices adopted to reduce post-harvest losses are energy efficient and integrate effective renewable energy solutions such as biomass, solar PV, solar thermal, wind turbines, micro-/pico-hydropower.

In sub-Saharan Africa significant losses are as a result of a number of factors which include insufficient drying, inadequate storage, insufficient cooling and poor transport - all of which rely on high levels of energy input. Decentralised, distributed food processing supported by distributed energy supply can not only improve food security but also provide employment and income generation in rural communities. The local processing of food enables better storage and easier transportation, longer shelf-life, reduced seasonal supply effects, and produces products with added value.

The project aims to provide research which will support rural community business models for low and renewable energy input into food processing which minimise post-harvest loss and waste.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk