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Evaluation of energy efficiency and renewable energy generation opportunities for small scale dairy farms: A case study in Prince Edward Island, Canada

Houston, Carrie (2012) Evaluation of energy efficiency and renewable energy generation opportunities for small scale dairy farms: A case study in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Small scale dairy operations are becoming a rarity amongst the large scale commercial operations. In an effort to remain competitive and profitable, small dairy farms in the eastern Canadian province of Prince Edward Island should focus on reducing operating costs by implementing energy efficient strategies and renewable energy generation systems.

This research work investigates the energy framework of the region, the programs available, and the energy consumption of small dairy farming operations in an effort to obtain data for analysis and recommendations for opportunities within the region.

A case study of a local dairy farm is undertaken in detail to identify the characteristics of such operations with respect to energy consumption. The case study subject resulted in a focus on electricity and propane water heating. The case study confirmed the industry standard energy consumption trends of milk cooling, ventilation, and lighting being the key consumers.

Lighting retrofitting, regular maintenance scheduling, and real time consumption monitoring were energy efficiency measures recommended as a result of the case study. A simple lighting retrofit to upgrade an older portion of the facility from incandescent lighting to T8 lighting resulted in a one-year payback period and an annual electricity consumption savings of 11MWh which is approximately 10% of the total electricity load for the facility.

Analysis of potential renewable energy systems for generation was undertaken for the case study site, including wind, solar hot water, and anaerobic digestion opportunities. Results included several system options for complete or partial electricity generation from renewable resources.

A self-assessment software tool was developed as a result of the information, data, and opportunities realized through this research. This tool is intended to act as a guide to farm operators with respect to understanding their energy consumption and the opportunities available to minimize energy cost.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Gyamfi, Samuel
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