Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
Solar power is the most readily available power generation equipment that can be found
today. Solar cells are relatively inexpensive and the technological know-how for creating
robust generation equipment is widely available. In solar power, a solar cell, or many cells
(called a solar array or panel) are wired up in a series or in parallel to generate the power
that's needed.
Wind or water can also be used via generator equipment. While higher in cost than solar
equipment, in places where solar cells may have limited availability, wind or water mills
that generate electricity can be used to power a patch of land. With a generator-based
power system, the amount of voltage and current produced is dependent upon the speed
of rotation. These systems require greater amounts of circuit knowledge because the
batteries they charge (or in the fields they power directly) will need to be protected against
over-voltage, which can cause damage to batteries and crops.
In both solar- and wind-powered generation systems, the amount of power available for
generation is proportional to the availability of the sun and the wind, respectively. For
24-hour operation where the generator is effectively charging a battery, the power system
wouldneedtobedesignedtohaveenoughgenerationcapacitytokeepthebatteryataplace
where 90 percent of its voltage is available for electroculture (assuming the batteries are
1.5 volts). Most generation systems output between 5 and 24 volts, so additional circuitry
would be needed to step down the voltage as needed.
The last generation technology I'm going to cover is microbial power through the use of
microbial fuel cells, also known as MFCs. These work similarly to electroculture systems
in that certain electrodes are placed into a medium containing lots of microbes, e.g. sewer
water, dirt, and other microbial-rich substances. The electrodes will pick up power that's
released from the bacteria, and the wires to which they are attached can be used to power a
wide number of low-power devices.
While the power output from these devices is low, multiple MFCs can be used together to
increase the available power. The benefit of using this type of device over solar and wind
is that they operate continually, day and night, meaning that battery power would not be
needed.
Additional Power Considerations
As mentioned previously, despite the minute amounts of power that are needed to realize
the benefits described, you may want to consider only intermittently stimulating the plants
andsoilasitwillactuallyincreasetheperformanceofyoursystem.Yet,theremaybemore
fundamental reasons to keep the power on intermittently.
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