Innovation: Community-level Solar-Powered Hydroponic Fodder Unit
Students in India have come up with an innovative and innovative farming method. That can be cultivated using a minimum of soil and can save up to 5% of water. Here we have some details about the Solar-Powered Hydroponic Fodder Unit.
India is known as a country of farmers famous for its agriculture. In which more than 90% of the people make a living by subsisting and farming. India also has the largest population of livestock compared to the rest of the world. Despite this, many farmers focus on the crop. Because they cannot feed their livestock and. This livestock often is malnourished and often suffers from its deficiencies.
Aiming to solve this problem, two students of Advanced Studies from Terry School have developed technology. It is called a community-level solar-powered hydroponic fodder unit. It is capable of increasing crop yields, growing rich, nutritious green fodder with very little water, and land-less farming techniques. That is able to increase crop production a lot compared to traditional approaches. He was also awarded a bronze medal in the Grand Final of Efficiency for the Access Design Challenge. Suryadeep Basak and Lovekesh Balachandani were the masterminds behind this. There were also attempts to understand what ignited the idea in their minds.
How did this idea come to their mind?
Sauryadeep quit his job at PWC India. Lokesh changed the trends from mechanical engineering to the study of renewable energy. Because he is very concerned about climate change and unsavory agricultural practices. When he was working in the field of food-water-energy connection, he came up with the award-winning idea.
“We have a water-efficient landless technology of agriculture. Which started with the discovery of hydroponics,” he said in an interview. Gradually, the idea took shape in the form of a three-phase solution. The forage unit is suitable for the Indian scenario due to its affordability and low return period, as well as high land-use efficiency due to consolidation.”
To focus on the issues faced by India
The engineers explained how their applications work within the limits of the challenges that Indian farmers are currently facing. “This design requires 95 percent less water than conventional fodder production. It takes 8 days to feed on seed and there is no downtime due to the landless nature. Using an energy-efficient cooling strategy, 0.5 units of electricity is required per month. ”
He added, “On the social front, 10,281 farmers lost their lives in 2019. The Reasons were crop failure, low production prices, and rising debt. A sign of structural disarray in the agricultural sector. Leaving windows behind without any source of income.” Aadhaar provides income without security. Nationally, India has a 32% deficit of green fodder. Freedom of imports can be difficult to maintain unless a decentralized fodder station is turned on. This is especially important because India has the largest livestock population of any nation. ”
Using tech to make farming better
Basak and Balachandani explained a method by which they were able to make this method possible. With the introduction of technology, using a microcontroller. Which interfaces a network between sensors and actuators. When the temperature rises above the predefined set-point the smart cooling system turns on sprinklers and fans. Evaporative cooling, fans, and sprinklers are components of the cooling system. The simulation and passive solar strategy were taken advantage of to create a standard design applicable to all five climate zones of India as per the National Building Code.” He claims that a very cheap and efficient fodder unit can be installed. The cost is Rs 7,500 and is fully solar-powered using DC power.
A three-stage solution
Engineers say the technology can be seen as a three-phase solution. He explains, “The first phase is the fodder unit, which provides income by increasing livestock productivity. No additional supply chain is required. Payments can be as low as 5 months for direct sales and 20 months for increased sales of livestock products. “
The transition from just growing fodder in products like mushrooms to the second stage. “The second stage is the mushroom cultivation unit. It uses biomass (straw, hay) which is now used as a result of the fodder unit. Depending on the time of year, different mushrooms successfully sprout into smart grove units. Medicinal and gourmet mushrooms can be grown. They are sun-dried to extend their shelf life, thereby reducing pressure on the supply chain. “
The third phase takes it to a whole new level. Giving farmers a premium-grade product, “The third phase is a greenhouse for exotic vegetables, herbs, flowers, and other horticultural products. An established supply chain is required at this stage.”
What effect did they want from this solution?
Suryadeep and Lovekesh want to help disadvantaged communities in India. “Most of the farmers in India are small and regional farmers, they rely mainly on agriculture. We are trying to create local entrepreneurial ventures which can increase resilience and income security. Employment in these units can reintegrate widows, persons with disabilities, and other socially disadvantaged groups into the social fabric. This is due to the lack of labor availability in rural areas.”
Engineers report what a joy it was for them to use their engineering skills and knowledge to promote renewable energy and create affordable solutions for communities. He added, “Sponsored by UK Aid and the IKEA Foundation, Hands Learning, in collaboration with Engineers with Borders UK, introduced us to the nuances of designing. Ultimately, validating a theoretical concept is the greatest gift a research student can hope for. “
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