It is with pleasure that we announce the publication of ‘Energy Use in the EU Livestock Sector: A Review Recommending Energy Efficiency Measures and Renewable Energy Sources Adoption’ in a special issue of Applied Sciences on Defossilised Energy Supply and Energy Efficiency Measures for Sustainable Rural Development. The review is an important step towards achieving the EU’s 2030 and 2050 sustainability targets and will aid in developing relevant interventions. This publication was produced by two H2020 projects, AgroFossilFree with inputs from RES4LIVE.
This study conducts a review bringing together data from a large number of studies investigating energy use in EU livestock systems. Such a study has not been conducted previously, and improvements in our understanding of energy use concentrations in livestock systems will aid in developing interventions to achieve the EU’s 2030 and 2050 sustainability targets. The results from the Life Cycle Assessments included in this review indicate that energy use is concentrated in feed, housing, and manure management. In most systems, animal feed is the dominant energy use category.
This review indicates dominance of and dependence on fossil fuel and discusses the situation and research around transitioning towards renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency. The analysis indicates that existing energy use data in livestock systems are fragmented and characterized by multiple methodologies and considerable data gaps. In this view, there is a need for the development of a standardized methodology for measuring energy use in livestock systems, which we consider a necessary step to develop interventions that reduce fossil energy use in livestock systems and its contribution to climatic change.