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Water-Energy-Nutrients Synergies in the Agrifood Sector: A Circular Economy Framework

Efthymios Rodias (), Eirini Aivazidou (), Charisios Achillas (), Dimitrios Aidonis () and Dionysis Bochtis ()
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Efthymios Rodias: Institute for Bio-Economy and Agri-Technology (iBO), Centre for Research and Technology—Hellas (CERTH), 10th km Charilaou-Thermi Road, Balkan Centre, 57001 Thermi, Greece
Eirini Aivazidou: Institute for Bio-Economy and Agri-Technology (iBO), Centre for Research and Technology—Hellas (CERTH), 10th km Charilaou-Thermi Road, Balkan Centre, 57001 Thermi, Greece
Charisios Achillas: Institute for Bio-Economy and Agri-Technology (iBO), Centre for Research and Technology—Hellas (CERTH), 10th km Charilaou-Thermi Road, Balkan Centre, 57001 Thermi, Greece
Dimitrios Aidonis: Institute for Bio-Economy and Agri-Technology (iBO), Centre for Research and Technology—Hellas (CERTH), 10th km Charilaou-Thermi Road, Balkan Centre, 57001 Thermi, Greece
Dionysis Bochtis: Institute for Bio-Economy and Agri-Technology (iBO), Centre for Research and Technology—Hellas (CERTH), 10th km Charilaou-Thermi Road, Balkan Centre, 57001 Thermi, Greece

Energies, 2020, vol. 14, issue 1, 1-17

Abstract: Circular economy is emerging as a regenerative concept that minimizes emissions, relies on renewable energy, and eliminates waste based on the design of closed-loop systems and the reuse of materials and resources. The implementation of circular economy practices in resource-consuming agricultural systems is essential for reducing the environmental ramifications of the currently linear systems. As the renewable segment of circular economy, bioeconomy facilitates the production of renewable biological resources (i.e., biomass) that transform into nutrients, bio-based products, and bioenergy. The use of recycled agro-industrial wastewater in agricultural activities (e.g., irrigation) can further foster the circularity of the bio-based systems. In this context, this paper aims to provide a literature review in the field of circular economy for the agrifood sector to enhance resource efficiency by: (i) minimizing the use of natural resources (e.g., water, energy), (ii) decreasing the use of chemical fertilizers, (iii) utilizing bio-based materials (e.g., agricultural/livestock residues), and (iv) reusing wastewater from agrifood operations. The final objective is to investigate any direct or indirect interactions within the water-energy-nutrients nexus. The derived framework of synergetic circular economy interventions in agriculture can act as a basis for developing circular bio-based business models and creating value-added agrifood products.

Keywords: agrifood sector; agricultural waste; bioenergy; biofertilizers; wastewater; water reuse; resource management; circular economy; bioeconomy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q4 Q40 Q41 Q42 Q43 Q47 Q48 Q49 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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