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Implementation and Case Studies

Science Forum 2018 Case Study // Examining Tradeoffs in the Allocation of Biomass Energy Sources to Domestic and Productive Uses in Ethiopia

By Dawit Mekonnen, Elizabeth Bryan, Tekie Alemu, Claudia Ringler. Rural households in Ethiopia have limited options to meet their domestic energy needs because they lack access to modern fuels and technologies. This study looked at the tradeoff between the use of biomass such as cow dung, fuel wood, and crop residues for domestic cooking and heating purposes, instead of leaving the biomass on the field to improve soil organic matter.

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The results show that the use of dung as a domestic fuel source has reduced farm productivity in Ethiopia, as soil organic matter is being removed from the field to meet household energy demand, a problem that is not solved by increased use of chemical fertilizers due to complementarities in chemical fertilizers and soil organic matters. Farm households, particularly women and girls, spend quite significant number of hours a week in search for fuelwood to meet domestic energy demand, a time that could have been used in productivity-enhancing activities. The amount of time households spend in search of fuelwood, cow dung, and crop residues does not meaningfully differ by households’ access to electricity because in many households, electricity is being used primarily for lighting purposes.

On the other hand, the use of on-farm fuelwood is associated with increased value of agricultural output. On-farm production of fuelwood appears to increase the value of crop output and provide labor savings, by making fuelwood collection more convenient for households. Policy interventions to support the expansion of agroforestry and increase access to new energy-efficient technologies are needed to ensure that agricultural productivity can be both increased and sustained (Mekonnen et al., 2017).



January 2017


Agricultural Economics, Volume 48, Issue 4, July 2017, Pages 425-435


More on the Nexus in Ethiopia

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Water Utilities // Smart Solution to Improve Water-Energy Nexus for Water Supply Systems

By Jorge Helmbrechta, Jordi Pastorb and Carolina Moyac. The Water-Energy Nexus is considered as one of the most important multidisciplinary challenges that the global growing water market has to face in the forthcoming years. The current trend of water transmission system to the creation of DMAs (District Metered Areas) offers great possibilities of non-structural solutions that use existing data and transform them into useful information to support decision making. This paper presents a smart...

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Machine learning for Energy-Water Nexus // Challenges and Opportunities

By Syed Mohammed Arshad Zaidi, Varun Chandola, Melissa R. Allen, Jibonananda Sanyal, Robert N. Stewart, Budhendra L. Bhaduri, and Ryan A. McManamay. Modeling the interactions of water and energy systems is important to the enforcement of infrastructure security and system sustainability. To this end, recent technological advancement has allowed the production of large volumes of data associated with functioning of these sectors. We are beginning to see that statistical and machine learning...

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The Challenges of Transdisciplinary Knowledge Production // From Unilocal to Comparative Research

By David Simon, Henrietta Palmer, Jan Riise, Warren Smit and Sandra Valencia. The implementation of the WEF Nexus approach calls for transdisciplinary and comparative knowledge production and research. This reflective paper surveys the lessons learnt and challenges faced by the Mistra Urban Futures (MUF) research centre and its research platforms in Sweden, the UK, South Africa and Kenya in developing and deploying different forms of transdisciplinary co-production of knowledge. Considerable...

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