Skip to main content

MArket uptake of an innovative irrigation Solution based on LOW WATer-ENergy consumption

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MASLOWATEN (MArket uptake of an innovative irrigation Solution based on LOW WATer-ENergy consumption)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2017-03-01 al 2018-08-31

The productive irrigation for agriculture is one of the most consumers of water and electricity. It is known the scarcity of these two resources: lack of water in Southern Europe is becoming a great environmental problem, and electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels that have a great impact in the climate change.
To tackle these two problems is exactly the objective of MASLOWATEN project: the introduction into the market of innovative solutions consisting of photovoltaic irrigation systems allowing the irrigation using 100% renewable electricity and reducing 30% the water consumption.
MASLOWATEN has installed five demonstrators ready to be introduced into the market and has shown their technical reliability, economic performance and environmental benefits, 100% renewable, saving 34% of the water consumption and savings in the electricity cost between 61% to 79%.
Moreover, MASLOWATEN has produced the required tools for the market uptake of this innovative solution that are available at www.maslowaten.eu The business model to exploit this innovative solution is based on licensing the three patents filed by MASLOWATEN to 22 SMEs installing irrigation systems that are currently commercializing the solution.
The general objective of MASLOWATEN is split into three main objectives:

Objective 1: To show the technical and economical viability of efficient and intermittency-free large scale PV pumping systems for irrigation allowing 100% renewable energy consumption.
The 5 large scale first market application systems installed in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Morocco, covering all of the possible needs of irrigators, have been monitored for 3 years to know their performance in real conditions of operation. The results are the following:
- Technical validation – energy aspects: it includes the use of PV electricity for pumping: 100% in the units of Villena, Alaejos and Uri, and between 79% and 81% in the hybrid systems in Alter do Chao and Tamellalt.
- Economic validation: The results showed savings in the cost of electricity from 61% to 79%, and internal rates of return between 11% and 16%.
- Life cycle assessment: the energy payback period ranges from 1.9 to 5.2 years and the carbon payback period ranges from 1.8 to 9.3 years. The lifetime of the first market application units is 25 years.


Objective 2: To reduce the water consumption, using Automatisms and ICT and Precision Agriculture-based solutions.
We have carried out two validation tests to evaluate the water consumption reduction according to two different strategies:
1- Reduction of the amount of irrigation water by an increase of the crop yield.
2- Reduction of the amount of irrigation water by precision agriculture.
The first strategy leads to results of 34% in the water consumption reduction, while the second strategy leads to 24.8%.

Objective 3: Market uptake and market replication of a new green product at TRL9 consisting of PV pumping systems consuming 100% renewable electricity and 30% less water
The work carried out to achieve this goal has been focused on three different work lines:
Development of technical tools for the bankability of the PV irrigation systems:
Ad-hoc technical specifications and quality control procedures ready to be included in contracts and tender calls were produced. The final document can be downloaded from www.maslowaten.eu in three different languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese. The number of downloads has been 570 downloads.
We have also developed a free-access simulation tool able to design and simulate PV irrigation systems. The tool is available at www.sisifo.info and includes several innovative aspects such as the automatic download of the characteristic curves of frequency converters and motor-pumps or a new pump selection method for PV irrigation systems.
Just in 2018, 9836 simulations were performed for PV irrigation systems in 1121 different locations, with 5731 different visitors from 154 different countries.

Development of economical tools for the bankability of the PV irrigation systems:
We have developed four economical tools to make easier the bankability and the market uptake of the PV irrigation systems:
• Market assessment and Business plan: a potential market of 8GWp and 12,000M€ has been assessed. The Business plan has been oriented to SMEs interested in installing PV irrigation systems, showing an IRR of 17%.
• Financing schemes: a set of financing schemes have been proposed and, furthermore, MASLOWATEN collaborated with another H2020 project (RESFARM) to propose a model of PPA contracts. This financing proposal was identified as a business opportunity that was presented in the Investor Cafe organized by the EC and was awarded with the first prize by the investors present in the event.
• Regulatory and political recommendations: a set of recommendations was proposed regarding the use of PV electricity and the use of water.

Dissemination and technology transfer to at least 20 SMEs
We have developed a communication strategy based on reaching the end-users and the SMEs that want to exploit our solutions. As a result, we have reached 364,069 potential end-users through the online dissemination.
We have organized 5 seminars and 15 technical visits to the 5 first market application units, with a total of 1861 participants. We have participated in 32 different conferences and seminars with a total audience exceeding 10,000 attendees. We have also organized five international seminars to open international markets in Bulgaria, Ghana, South-Africa and Chile with 252 participants and we have participated in exhibitions with a potential impact of more than 700,000 visitors.
Moreover, 3 patents have been filed and 20 publications in international journals and in the proceedings of international scientific conferences have been already published. A video and three presentations have been elaborated for the awareness of the general public about the high environmental and social value of energy and water.
Finally, more than 100 SMEs applied for the transfer technology. 27 SMEs were trained in MASLOWATEN technology through four technical workshops and the three patents were licensed to 22 SMEs.
MASLOWATEN has extended the power of PV irrigations systems to meet the end-user needs. We have integrated them with irrigation automatism through IT solutions for the end-user to apply precision agriculture techniques, allowing not only the use of renewable energy but also the reduction of water consumption. We have protected this solution with 3 patents that solve the traditional technical barrier of the PV power intermittence to irrigate.
The impact of these innovative solutions is based on their great potential market and their reduction up to 79% of the cost of electricity for irrigation, a 34% of the water consumption and the mitigation of the climate change with CO2 payback periods that are less than one third of their lifetime. The MASLOWATEN technology has already transferred to 22 SMEs through licenses of the patents that are currently commercializing the solution. This way, MASLOWATEN will have also impact in the EU economy: if this solution is extended in the European agriculture sector, we estimate that the employment creation with this potential market can reach 290,000 jobs, , 20,000 millions of m3 of water for irrigation and 16 millions of tons of CO2 could be saved yearly.