CAPTURING WIND FOR FOOD-ENERGY-WATER IN THE HIGH PLAINS
“Green” carbon-free ammonia can be produced with renewable energy through a co-op or area partnership and used as fertilizer or energy storage. Renewable-energy powered water treatment could also be conducted by local businesses. One example is treatment of produced water, the highly saline water by-product of oil and gas extraction, to help meet water demands and reduce waste re-injection underground. A decision support system is being developed to help communities decide on levels of ammonia production and water treatment for their region that is “not too large, not too small” to be economically viable.
Communication with an advisory group is an important component of the study. Advisory members include experts in different discipline areas, farmers, community leaders and state legislators. To be impactful, new ideas need local leaders to undertake new enterprises. An online survey and interviews are being used to characterize producers’ operations, resource concerns, and identify early technology adopters.
Initial economic evaluations of renewable-energy powered ammonia production and treatment of produced water indicate improving competitiveness. In addition. social choice drives markets. Green ammonia and the use of otherwise unusable water have important benefits that influence decision making. The FEWtures project seeks to bring all these factors into an innovative analysis of future alternatives that will benefit farmers and local communities.