Orange grove. Image credit:Flickr Elliott
While today's New York Times article, How Green Is My Orange? does not state what our headline does, a glance at the graphic included (see below) illustrates the potential gain from a long term shift to organic citrus production. Reducing greatly, or eliminating, the natural-gas inputs to citrus production would go a long way to reducing the single largest source of carbon in the life cycle of orange juice making: nitrogen fertilizer.Pepsico's Tropicana business unit estimated that upwards of 60% of the carbon emissions associated with fresh squeezed, bottled orange juice production is associated with natural gas inputs to orange growing. See the graphic below for details.
Image credit: New York Times, Life Cycle Inventory Of Carbon Emissions From Tropicana Brand Orange Juice Production
There's money to be saved in those orange groves; and, I imagine that PepsiCo is aware that fertilizer is now the single largest cost of orange production.
Before they urge growers to go organic, though, there's always the computerized application route.
A system for groves, truck farms and the like for automatically irrigating and fertilizing in accordance with the requirements of the soil. A plurality of capacitance sensors are buried in the areas to be irrigated and fertilized. A computer periodically measures the equivalent capacitive reactance of each sensor to obtain an indication of soil moisture and the equivalent resistance of each sensor to obtain an indication of fertilizer levels in the soil. Water pumps and valves and liquid fertilizer pumps are controlled by the computer to operate only when the soil requires.Via:Free Patents Online
More juice from the TreeHugger archive.
TreeHugger Scoop on OJ
Next Up in Ethanol Innovation: Orange Peels
Energy: The Peel Deal