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Highly efficient, solar-powered irrigation pump

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - sunlight2.0 (Highly efficient, solar-powered irrigation pump)

Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2018-06-30

Crop productivity is key to cover the global growing population’s alimentary needs. Astonishingly, only 20% of the world’s cultivated areas are under irrigation, which is indispensable for effective crop production. This is mainly due to lack of accessibility, caused by infrastructure and grid deficiencies
Conventional irrigation pumps are designed for extensive irrigation (>2HP) and are big and heavy. This is especially cumbersome in remote areas where there is no grid connection and/or fuel is not always available. Furthermore, a substantial proportion of earnings need to be reinvested into electricity or fuel for subsequent crop cycles.
We have designed and now aim to produce an affordable, portable, highly efficient and user-friendly solar water pump that runs exclusively with solar energy. It will allow to irrigate inaccessible sites while reducing transportation costs, GHG emissions and eliminating fuel/electricity costs.
After being awarded SME Instrument Phase 1, we carried on with the essential technical developments related to (1) motor electronics, (2) flow switch with cavitation protection, (3) several variants of pump heads and (4) the plastic housing, etc. for the 0.5HP.
Now the main challenge is to develop, implement and integrate the digital tools for easy payment, remote monitoring and analysis. We will need to carry out a thorough field testing. Meanwhile, we plan to prepare our European market uptake, starting with the top-7 smallholder countries in the EU-28.
During the Feasibility Study, we have developed several thorough assessments concerning (1) the technical implementation and the work plan for Phase 2, (2) the commercial plan focused on the European market uptake and the expansion to other extra-European countries, (3) a search for feasible partnerships to expand our commercial network during Phase 2, (4) a deep FTO analysis and (5) an assessment about the financial feasibility of the project.
By the end of the project we will be ready to produce and sell our accessible and cost-effective unique water solar pump. We will have introduced SUNLIGHT2.0 in our currently established commercial network in sub-Saharan Africa and South-Asia and will have prepared our European market uptake. By 2024, 4 years after commercialisation, we will have sold 82,550 units and licensed 172,200 more. This will create 10 European jobs and accumulated revenues of €30.5M and accumulated profits of €10.7M.