A Spanish project of intelligent irrigation conquers an international jury
UNESCO, Harvard BusinessRevier, Canal +, National Geographic and TechHub among other institutions have awarded 250 projects from all over the world, among which is a Huercal-Overa company called Expanhouse SL, to develop and promote projects aimed at improving quality of life of people.
The water deficit of the province of Almeria and, in general, globally, has motivated Expanhouse to develop a solution: an irrigation system that can save up to 50% of water and fertilizer compared to traditional drip irrigation.
The project, which will be marketed under the PermeaPod brand, is based on small deposits of porous ceramic material buried next to the roots that release the water according to the need of the plant. The immediate advantages of the system are the practical elimination of the evaporation and the infiltration in the soil until almost reducing them to zero. As a result, the surface of the land remains dry, pests and weeds are reduced, with consequent savings in labor, pesticides and herbicides.
The plants benefit directly by eliminating water stress. At all times, the roots have the water they need, extracting it from the tank by capillarity, thus avoiding moments of excessive or deficit irrigation. The system self-regulates without having to resort to a large investment in sensors or other technologies. Deposits can be connected to existing drip networks to minimize installation costs.
What is smart irrigation?
Smart agriculture promises to change the established paradigms regarding the management and control of horticultural farms. The control of climate and pests associated with greenhouses, irrigation systems or the collection of the product can be improved thanks to information and communication technologies, robotics or nanotechnology. In this sense, the fertirrigation and the control of intelligent irrigation contribute an advance that will suppose a significant saving in the amount of water, nutrients and energy used in the farms thanks to the improvement in the efficiency of its use.
Irrigation control is a system that introduces electro valves to regulate the use of water through piping systems. The automatic irrigation controllers allow the water to reach the crop taking into account the climate, soil conditions and other algorithms that affect the state of the plant. Automation is not an easy task, since by taking these variables the water is distributed in a quantity and for a certain time, which allows the efficiency in the use of this precious resource in the Almeria countryside.
Fertigation is to provide the plant with nutrients through irrigation. Although the advantages that this system can provide are considerable, since it allows to optimize the use and assimilation of nutrients by the plant, it requires careful management by the farmer, who must have an adequate preparation when handling these fertilizers and dispose of of an installation that distributes fertigation uniformly.
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