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Universidad de Córdoba (2020)

Integral model for the use of solar photovoltaic energy in irrigation

Mérida García, Aida

Titre : Integral model for the use of solar photovoltaic energy in irrigation

Modelo integral de aprovechamiento de la energía solar fotovoltaica en riego

Auteur : Mérida García, Aida

Université de soutenance : Universidad de Córdoba

Grade : Tesis Doctoral 2020

Résumé partiel
Irrigated agriculture makes possible to increase the productivity of the cropped area, becoming a key activity to meet the growing food demand resulting from the increase of global population. The transformation of arable land from rain-fed to irrigated raises in turn the water demand by the agricultural sector, which currently accounts for 70% of total extractions, on a global scale. The modernization of the irrigation sector led a substantial improvement in the efficiency of water use, although, in parallel, the replacement of systems based on open channels to pressurized networks resulted in a significant increase in energy demand. The main drawbacks of this growing demand are the higher farm operating costs and environmental impact linked to agriculture. In this context, there is a need to look for alternative energy sources with low greenhouse gas emissions, maintaining and even increasing the profitability of the agricultural activity. This thesis is structured in 6 chapters and an annex, focused on the integration of photovoltaic technology in irrigation as energy supply source. Thus, the different chapters contemplate this integration from the point of view of irrigation management and schedule to the dimensioning of the system, taking into account economic, environmental and operational aspects. The first chapter contextualizes the reason of this thesis, which objectives are set out in chapter 2, in which the structure of the rest of the document is also detailed. Chapter 3 presents a model for the management of photovoltaic irrigation. This model integrates crop, climatic, hydraulic and energy variables, accomplishing a real time synchronization of the photovoltaic power generated and the power and irrigation times demanded by the network which supplies. The application of this model to a real case study (experimental olive orchard of the Rabanales Campus of the University of Córdoba) has achieved excellent results, being able to satisfy, automatically, more than 96% of the irrigation requirements of the crop during the irrigation season analysed. In addition, the substitution of the conventional electrical supply by photovoltaic energy avoided the emission of 1.2 t of CO2 eq. corresponding to 602 h of irrigation (during a season), in the olive orchard field of the case study analysed. In chapter 4 an analysis of the life cycle of the photovoltaic technology used as energy source in irrigation is carried out. In addition, it is also compared with the life cycle linked to the energy supply with traditional options, diesel generators and the electricity grid.

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