Energy-water-food nexus in the Spanish greenhouse tomato production
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The nexus energy–water–food of the tomato greenhouse production in the Almeria region (Spain) has been studied following a Process Systems Analysis Method connecting the ecosystem services to the market demands with a holistic view based on Life Cycle Assessment. The management of the agri-food subsystem, the industrial subsystem and the urban subsystem plays an important role in the nexus of the E–W–F system, where transport and information technologies connect the three subsystems to the global markets. The local case study of the tomato production in Almeria (Spain) has been developed as an example of the food production under cropland restrictions, semiarid land. After study of the economic and social sustainability in time, the evolution of the ecosystem services supply is the main restriction of the system, where after the land use change in the region, water and energy supply play the mean role with a trade-off between the water quality degradation and the economic cost of the energy for water desalination. Water footprint, Carbon footprint and Chemicals footprint are useful indicators to the environmental sustainability assessment of local alternatives in the E–W–F system under study. As it is shown in the conclusions, the holistic view based on the process analysis method and the life cycle assessment methodology and indicators is an useful tool for decision support.
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