World Perspectives

Waste to Energy

It is said that the trade in agricultural products is the movement of water and energy. Plants are grown where there is water, and ultimately, they are composed of energy (calories) derived from the sun. The sun bombards the earth with 173,000 terawatts of power on a continuous basis. Humans use 15 terrawatts of energy from all sources on a continuous basis. In other words, capturing less than 0.009 percent of the supply of solar energy would satisfy all human energy needs.  The efficiency challenge is the energy return on energy invested (EROI) calculation. While solar panels receive much of the kudos for capturing the sun’s energy for human use, agriculture is the largest and more efficient converter of solar energy. The losse...

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Illuminating the value of technical research

On behalf of a commodity producer organization, WPI evaluated the outputs from a project that featured a $5 million investment into technical research over multiple years. WPI’s team captured the results of this extensive effort and synthesized them for presentation to the organization’s governing board; among the findings uncovered and presented for the first time was the development of genomic traits proven, via rigorous testing, to provide crop yield advantages of 50 percent or more to U.S. farmers in times of drought. Capturing measurable results from long-term efforts can be challenging. Educating clients on the dynamics of success measurement when quantifiable results are not readily available requires deep client-consultant collaboration and an ability to consider both near- and long-term client aspirations with market/policy dynamics – attributes that WPI brings to every consulting engagement.

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