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Alternative energy sources

Updated Friday, 18th June 2010

Former farmer, Stig Petersen, now advisor at the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, talks about the important role that agriculture plays in producing alternative energy sources, in the form of biomass.

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Copyright The Open University

Please note: This interview was recorded in a noisy environment, which may affect the clarity of the contributor's words.


Stig Petersen: My name is Stig Petersen. I’m working for the Danish Agriculture and Food Council. We have an interest in making sure that when people and politicians, they think long time solutions for the environment and our energy supply and that they think agriculture and food.

And in that aspect we have a group of companies in the Danish Agriculture and Food Council that have a specific interest in either supplying equipment or consultancy to companies which are involved in the energy and food production.

And I’m too, in different ways, taking care of these companies’ interests. We have had five energy tours during the COP15, to different locations in Denmark and Sjælland, where we have seen different technologies and function, or different principles. We have seen one site where they burn biomass, where they burn straw, and use it for the heating of people’s private houses. We have been at a site where they have biogas production, where they use slurry from pig farms and cow farms, and different waste from food production, as well, to produce a biogas that replaces CO2 emitting fossil fuels.

When did you first become interested in climate change?

Stig: I have been for a long time, I have always seen the agriculture as a good supplier into the energy circle, so I would think for the last 15 years I have been aware that the agriculture’s a very good solution to the environmental issues that we are having. So when I begin this process of educating me to be a farmer, I understood that the agriculture’s a good and steady supplier of energy, yeah.

What projects are you working on?

Stig: Well in general we try to take care of these companies’ interests, with equipment and consultancy, for different projects all around the world. Not only in Denmark, of course.

Interviewer: Just explain a little bit about the equipment?

Stig: Well it could be a company making pellet compressing equipment, where you can take biomass, you can take sawdust or woodchips and mill it, and press it into pellets, that’s easy to transport. So you have a compact energy source that’s viable for transport, compared to if you have just woodchips that takes a lot of space and are very expensive to transport.

What will you be doing over the next 10 years?

Stig: Well I still hope to be in Denmark, but I maybe would like to be in a more commercial position than I am today, yeah. The fact is, as a lobbyist, I mean, you have a very wide platform and talking to a lot of people, but in the long term, maybe, I would like to be more commercial and be more involved in a specific projects.

Optimist or pessimist?

Stig: It all depends on what comes out of the COP15, I think, in principle, but I think in the long run, the world needs agriculture as a solution for the environmental and the energy supply, I think.

There’s an awareness now that something needs to be changed and they need to have some conditions for different wide variety of different solutions within the energy supply. So I think I am pretty sure that the COP15 will come out with a good result and I also know that the agricultures already mentioned in a lot of the documents that’s being worked on at the moment. So I’m positive. Yes I am.





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