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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Renewable Energy and Manure Management Research

Project Number: 6209-13610-006-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Sep 01, 2004
End Date: Aug 31, 2009

1) Develop and evaluate autonomous wind-powered water pumping systems for irrigation, livestock, and farmstead water by developing farm size inverter and rectifier based controllers to increase the amount of useable energy available to the pump and by developing control strategies that prioritize and distribute electrical power to multiple loads (for example - pumps, water heaters, batteries, balancer loads). 2) Optimize the volume of water delivered for irrigation, livestock, and farmstead uses from various types of pumps using electricity produced from photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Complete pumping systems will be evaluated including pumps, motors, controllers and solar panels. 3) Measure engine performance and exhaust emissions of stationary engines used for electric power generation and irrigation pumping when fueled by biodiesel.

The wind-powered water pumping activity will focus on controlling pumps and wind turbines with permanent magnet alternators during high wind speed (> 12 m/s) operation. At wind speeds greater than 12 m/s, present controllers often allow the wind turbine to run offline, which results in excessive noise, no water pumped, and possible catastrophic failure of the wind turbine. This effort is to design a controller that uses a different type of control logic that will allow the turbine to remain loaded at these higher wind speeds (higher voltages and frequencies), continue to pump water, and be cost effective. Constant voltage, constant frequency utility AC power will be used to verify the basic controller functions. Variable voltage, constant frequency AC utility power will be used to verify pump control operations. Variable voltage, variable frequency AC power (from a wind turbine) will be used for the final bench test and the field testing of each controller. Cost-benefit analyses will be conducted to compare the cost of wind pumping to electric utility, natural gas, diesel, or gasoline powered pumping. Four different types of pumps will be tested to determine optimum pumping depths and flow rates when powered by solar photovoltaic panels. Both AC and DC electric motors will be used to determine the best motor/controller combination for each type of pump. A diaphragm, piston, and helical pump will be used for small flow rates (livestock and domestic use) and a centrifugal pump will be used for higher flows needed for irrigation. An appropriate controller which is designed for water pumping, as opposed to battery charging, will be used with each system. The research focus will be to develop guidelines for selecting the appropriate pumping system for each pumping condition encountered, whether it be for livestock, domestic use, or irrigation. The emissions from vehicle engines operating on biodiesel derived from soybeans is well documented; however, actual measurements of emissions from irrigation engines or engines producing electric power are not easily obtained. These studies are planned to field measure the typical exhaust emissions from stationary and off-road engines using commercially available testing equipment. The main parameters to be measured are total unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, and ozone. At the same time we will record various engine performance parameters such as but not limited to: fuel efficiency, power output, throttle response, performance degradation in response to constant and varying loads. Evaluation of the effects of the biodiesel formulations on engine oil, coolant, and the fuel system will also be noted. Biodiesel derived from soybeans, rapeseed, and used cooking oil or fats are planned to be included in these experiments. Other fuels, derived from additional feedstocks, will be considered after initial testing with these commercially available fuels.

Last Modified: 8/21/2014
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