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Improving resource efficiency through a protective film for hose reel irrigation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PROTECTOR (Improving resource efficiency through a protective film for hose reel irrigation)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2017-11-30

Positioning and rolling up the increasingly longer hoses of current hose reel irrigators may be particularly difficult in some crop fields. Moreover, the longer the hoses, the stronger the efforts, what leads to breakdowns in the machinery and breakages of the hose. With PROTECTOR the friction between soil and sliding pipe is replaced by friction between a plastic tape and sliding pipe, which is much lower. In consequence, these devices will make it possible to use thinner hoses, which will reduce hydraulic head losses. Our general objective is to develop and commercialize a genuine, disruptive, autonomous and automatic device that allows for a resource-efficient irrigation. Our specific objectives are the reduction of initial and operation costs, energy consumption, emission of greenhouse gas and weight of the hoses, in hose reel irrigation.
PROTECTOR idea arose in 2013 and first prototypes were constructed with our own resources and tested in several field conditions in 2015 and 2016 with a positive performance. Thanks to the H2020 SME Instrument Phase 1 program, in the last 4 months we have been able to validate the technical, commercial and financial viability of our novel technology. We have identified necessary technical tasks, have overviewed the costs of manufacturing PROTECTOR devices and have identified technical collaborators. We have assessed risks and have proposed a business model after analysing the market and studying our main competitors. We have proposed pre-commercialization activities and have decided who from Irriland will be involved in the project. We have analysed the financial viability by forecasting revenues and costs in three different scenarios and have developed a plan for the intellectual property exploitation.
PROTECTOR allows for using thinner and cheaper hoses, which in turn reduce hydraulic head losses. Protector may allow to completely unroll a hose when it was not possible and reduces the energy spent for positioning the hose and for pumping water. Consequently, farmers will reduce the consumption of fuel, operate with lighter tractors, reduce initial costs (of hoses and tractors) and extend the lifespan of hoses and machinery. At the same time, irrigation will turn more sustainable and greenhouse gas emissions will be considerably reduced. In summary this technology will make hose reel irrigation system more competitive and sustainable through an innovative solution.