AN APPROACH FOR DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT OF A SOLAR-POWERED CENTER PIVOT IRRIGATION SYSTEM
Emerging financial and environmental challenges associated with conventional power sources have increased global interest in consuming unpolluted, renewable energy sources for irrigation sector. Solar energy may be an attractive choice in this regard due to its strong influence on crop water use and related energy requirement. However, a comprehensive approach for a reliable and economically viable photovoltaic (PV) system design to produce energy from solar source is required to accurately explore its potential. This thesis describes the development and application of a reliability assessment model, identifies a suitable solar irrigation management scheme, and provides guidelines for evaluating economic viability of a solar-powered center pivot irrigation system. The reliability model, written in MATLAB, was developed based on the loss of power supply probability (LPSP) technique in which various sub-models for estimating energy production, energy requirement and energy storage were combined. The model was validated with actual data acquired from the study site located at Outlook, Saskatchewan, Canada and an excellent agreement was found. For example, normalized root mean square error (NRMSE) for the battery current was found to be 0.027. Irrigation management strategies (irrigation depth, frequency and timing) were investigated by comparing the PV system sizing requirement for a conventional (25-35 mm per application) and for a frequent light irrigation management strategy (5-8 mm per application). The results suggest that the PV sizing can be reduced significantly by adopting frequent light irrigations which utilize the power as it is produced during daylight hours, rather than relying on stored energy. The potential of a solar-powered center pivot irrigation system was revealed for three different crops (canola, soybean and table potato) at the site by conducting a detailed economic analysis for the designed PV system. High value crops with moderate water requirements such as table potatoes appeared to be the most feasible choice for the study site. However, the potential may greatly vary for different crops in altered locations due to management, agronomic, climate, social, and economic variations. It can be concluded that a holistic approach described here can be used as a tool for designing an appropriate PV powered center pivot irrigation system under variable operating and meteorological conditions. Furthermore, its potential can be accurately explored by conducting a detailed economic analysis for a given location, considering different available crop choices.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentChemical and Biological Engineering
ProgramAgricultural and Bioresource Engineering
CommitteeNoble, Scott; Maule, Charles; Laurie, Tollefson
Copyright DateNovember 2013
Solar-powered center pivot, Reliability model, PV sizing, Irrigation management