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Irrigation in Andalucia

Irrigation in Andalucia

This pilot micro hydro power plant uses existing excess pressure existing in an irrigation system to recover energy and transform it into clean electricity to be used by the farm.  Replacing a diesel generator, it will reduce harmful emissions and help the farm improve their environmental sustainability.

This site has now completed its first irrigation season, and the first results from this site are now available, including data on energy generation and savings on carbon emissions.

Jump to latest progress

About the site

Location

The pilot plant is located at the Cortijo Calonge farm, in Palma del Río (Córdoba) near the Guadalquivir river basin in Andalucia, Spain.  Known as the “European California”, the area is noted for its fertile soils and the perfect climate for the production of nuts and pecans.

The technology

The project consists of the installation of a pump working in reverse as turbine (PAT), which will replace a 6 kVA diesel generator and feeds a filter system and the electric fertiliser within the farm.

The infrastructure is composed of a pressurised branched network with pipe diameters between 300 and 1200 mm, involving different materials, such as GRP and steel. The network is fed by two sets of water reservoirs and two retention pools.  The installation is composed of a by-pass, where the turbine is installed, two manual valves, one in line and another in a by-pass to ensure the suitable operation of the network, and an existing pressure reducing valve located downstream of the system.

This installation has two main advantages: (i) It can use the excess pressure existing in that system point to recover energy and transform it into clean electricity to be used by the farmer; and (ii) It will avoid the air pollution emissions of the diesel generator, reducing the impact of the agricultural activity in the environmental damage and climate change.

The plant is monitored through a system of remote sensors that allow us to know at all times the energy production of the system as well as other hydraulic and electrical parameters.

Tecnoturbines will be installing and monitoring the plant

The company Tecnoturbines has been awarded a tender by the Asturian Energy Foundation (FAEN) for the installation of the mini-hydraulic power plant pilot plant for the REDAWN project.  The design of the plant includes the installation of rechargeable batteries so that the supply of electricity can be assured at all times, although its main purpose is to supply energy during the irrigation period. In addition to running the plant, Tecnoturbines will also be in charge of monitoring it, given that the purpose of this plant, beyond its immediate purpose, is to serve as a pilot validation of this technology for use in irrigation facilities.

Founded in 2012, Tecnoturbines is presented as "a hydraulic turbine development company that is present throughout the life cycle of the project" and whose mission is "to promote progress by reducing energy costs and supplying electricity in remote locations in the industry sectors related to water ". The company will now have the opportunity to work on a project not related to the industry, but with irrigation, oriented to the saving of energy costs.

Latest Progress

After the end of this irrigation campaign, the first results of the operation of the pilot plant, which has been running more than 2,442 hours during the months of the irrigation campaign (May-September), are being evaluated.

The total energy demanded by the fertigation plant, filters and solenoid valves has been estimated at 222 kWh and has been supplied entirely by the pilot plant. 

With this plant - the only one focused on the recovery of energy in irrigation networks of the project - the objective is to evaluate the economic, social and environmental impact of the recovery of hydroelectric energy in irrigation networks, contributing to mitigation of climate change and to meet the objectives of sustainable development and the circular economy. In its first year of operation, it has avoided the emission of 100% greenhouse gases that were previously associated with the generator group and has allowed an estimated economic savings of € 2,300.

We can now release the first results from the site, which were recorded in May and June 2019.

 

Find out more

This site was featured in our Energy Day event in the summer of 2019, where stakeholders from all over Spain came to view the new technology in action and hear more from those involved in the project.  Read more here.

A film about the Energy Day event is now available: view the original film or a version with subtitles in English, French and Portuguese.

This is is the only irrigation-oriented REDAWN demonstration project, which includes two other hydroelectric facilities that will also serve as a pilot experience in the field of industry and supply. The pilot plant for the paper industry will be located in Portugal, while the drinking water supply plant will be located in France. 

To receive updates on the REDAWN demonstration sites, sign up to our newsletter at http://bit.ly/REDAWNlist.  

       

 

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