A Study on Hybrid Power Vehicle for Electric Spraying Application
Agriculture currently relies more on fossil fuel power for its mechanised operation. However, electric power system embedded in agriculture machinery enables farm electrification that provides numerous advantages such as improve work efficiency, ease of equipment control, reduce energy requirement and more ergonomic. This study aims to analyse a hybrid power farm vehicle configuration to enable the electrification of farm operation such as herbicide spraying. Two methodologies were presented for this study, which is simulation analysis and in-field test validation. HOMER software indicated that fraction of energy for herbicide spraying operation and charging the battery pack is 70% from solar energy and 30% from the rectifier engine output. The 20-Watt solar photovoltaic was selected due to installation area constraint on the farm utility vehicle and simulation results indicates the capacity is adequate for the intended purpose. Besides that, the simulation results also show the setup incurred lower energy cost up to 30% as compared to direct utilisation of the fossil fuel generator for the herbicide spraying. The in-field test study has validated the simulation results. The analysis indicated that the battery performance was consistent throughout the trial for almost two months of operation at the area covered for nearly 150 ha. The productivity of the machine obtained through the test was in average of 8 ha per day for a single man operation. In conclusion, the study shows that incorporation of solar power as opportunity charging could stabilise battery condition and will prolong battery health. The results also indicate that electrification of the farm equipment and its application could bring the desired positive result in farm activity. Thus, a more sustainable development approach of agriculture practice could be met.
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