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MASLOWATEN Report Summary

Project ID: 640771
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.5.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MASLOWATEN (MArket uptake of an innovative irrigation Solution based on LOW WATer-ENergy consumption)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

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. Furthermore, Europe does not hardly produce oil or gas, so the dependence from external markets is very high. The European citizens are demanding the rational use of these resources to enjoy of a society more respectful with the environment but keeping the agricultural economy and their employments.
One way of matching these two concerns, the environment (related with water and energy) and the economy-employment is the market introduction of renewable technologies that allow reducing the water consumption in irrigation applications.
This 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.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

MASLOWATEN has a duration of 36 months and, currently, has completed 18 months. During this period, the technical solutions have been prepared to be products ready for being introduced into the market by small and medium enterprises, the ones that reach the farmers and create jobs.

After this, real-scale photovoltaic (PV) irrigation systems have been implemented in different countries to show the technical reliability of the developed solutions and their economic viability. Five demonstrators ready for the market are currently in operation in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Morocco, covering all of the possible needs of the farmers, irrigator communities and agro-industries:
- Alter do Chao (Alentejo, Portugal): a 140 kW PV irrigation system to irrigate 200 hectares of super-intensive olive trees by drop-drop systems. This is a hybrid PV-diesel system that is saving 80% of the diesel consumption with a very efficient use of water.
- Alaejos (Valladolid, Spain): a stand-alone 160 kW PV irrigation system to irrigate beet-root, potatoes, carrots,… with a pivot using low-pressure sprinklers, with a reduction of 30% of water and 100% PV electricity.
- Villena (Alicante, Spain): a stand-alone 360 kW pumping system to a water pool, pumping from 260m deep at a rate of 70 l/s with just photovoltaic electricity.
- Uri (Sardinia, Italy): a stand-alone 40 kW PV irrigation systems for an ecological farm or 5 hectares cultivating artichoke. This system combines the pumping to a water pool and to a set of low-pressure sprinklers, reducing more than 40% the use of water per ton of product.
- Tamallelt (Marrakech, Morocco): a 120 kW to irrigate an olive tree farm by drop-drop irrigation system. This is a hybrid PV-grid system that is saving 80% of the electricity consumption from the conventional grid.

These demonstrators, that have been installed in real facilities of farmers, irrigator communities and agro-industries, are being used to our dissemination strategy, based on “communication between equals”. The farmers using the demonstrators will explain the reliability and the economical viability to other farmers interested on the solution. Up to now, several technical visits to the demonstrator have been done. For example, last 10th February a seminar including the visit to Villena demonstrator was organized, with 350 attendees: 40% end-users, 40& SMEs interested in exploiting the solution, and 20% from the administration and banks.

The interest of SMEs in this solution is very high. The commitment of MASLOWATEN is to transfer the technology to at least 20 European SMEs. MASLOWATEN has already filed three patents to assure that the solution is going to be exploited by European companies.

During this period, we have also developed technical tools to make easier the market uptake of the solutions, such as technical specifications and quality control procedures that allow the reliability of the systems during 25 years, and ready to be included in the contracts to install PV irrigation systems.

These tools are available in the website and social network channels implemented at the very beginning of the project: ; facebook: @maslowaten ; Twitter: @maslowaten. The strategy of communication is oriented to the end-users and general public. This way, in our website we tell stories representing you.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

MASLOWATEN has developed these innovative solutions and has already produced three patents that solve the traditional technical barrier of the PV power intermittence to irrigate. We have also developed new system configurations that allow the hybridization of PV with other power sources in both, the hydraulic part and the electric part of the irrigation system. This allows covering all of the possible needs of the farmers. We also propose the use of a specific Sun tracker technology that matchs the PV production with the need of water along the year.

The impact of these innovative solutions is based on its potential market: 16 GW in Southern Europe that represents 24,000 millions of euros. Our goal is to reduce up to 75% the cost of electricity for irrigation, reduce 80% the use of conventional electricity and reduce a 30% the water consumption. This will impact in a significant reduction of CO2 emissions. MASLOWATEN foresees international seminar to open markets in America, Africa and Asia.

We will also impact in the social economy. We have the commitment of transferring the technology to at least 20 SMEs. We have already demands of more than 60 SMEs. We estimate that the employment creation with this potential market can reach 290,000 jobs.

MASLOWATEN takes its name from the Pyramid of needs of MASLOW, where energy and water is in the base, where the basic needs to survive are. But water and energy are also economic needs and ecological needs, higher in this pyramid. We want also to impact the general public to make EU citizens conscious of the great value of these two resources. The binomial water-renewable energy makes a better world and reinforce our economy.

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