Scientists in India have suggested installing solar-powered water pumps on carts could harness clean energy irrigation in isolated, off-grid areas. The mobile solution would entail farmers paying only for the electricity required without upfront expenditure or maintenance costs.
Researchers from Noida Institute of Engineering & Technology, the Government Polytechnic at Tanda Gulabrai, IKG Punjab Technical University and the School of Automation at Banasthali Vidyapith, said their solution had offered satisfactory results when simulated using supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software.
The system features a solar-powered pumping unit, sun tracker, moisture sensor and cart. A control circuit in the former charges a battery to power a pump which, in a DC system, can run directly from the panel using a controller. Water is pumped from a bore well up to 15 feet deep into an overhead tank or used for direct irrigation thanks to a 12V, 50W panel and a 12V DC pump.
A microcontroller enables a sun tracking system triggered by a light sensor which raises solar panel output.
An adjustable moisture sensor is applied to the soil to control the flow of water from the system and, as the moisture level rises and sensor resistance decreases, reduces power supply to the pump.
With obvious application is largely off-grid regions such as Nagaland and mountainous zones, the developers of the system also touted its potential usefulness in Africa.
The team behind the system comprised A. Anand and M. Pathak from Noida Institute of Engineering & Technology; A. Banshwar from Government Polytechnic Tanda Gulabrai, at Puranpur in Pilibhit; N. K. Sharma from IKG Punjab Technical University; and B. B. Sharma from the School of Automation at Banasthali Vidyapith in Rajasthan. The details of the mobile system were published in the Journal of Physics.
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