California-grown almonds dominate the global market, providing over 80% of the world's commercial almonds. Two new articles published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology examine the environmental impacts of California's almond production, focusing on greenhouse gas emissions and energy.
Investigators noted that certain practices reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use substantially, including strategic utilization of co-products and the choice of water source and irrigation technology. Both of these may be influenced by regional variability in resources.
"Our research shows 1 kilogram of California almonds typically results in less than 1 kilogram of CO2 emissions, a lower carbon footprint than many other nutrient and energy dense foods. These results include the use of almond co-products--orchard biomass, hulls, and shells--for renewable power generation and dairy feed," said Dr. Alissa Kendall, corresponding author of both articles.
"Under ideal circumstances, which are feasible but not in place today, California almonds could become carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative, largely through improved utilization of orchard biomass."