After World’s Largest Solar Tree CSIR-CMERI Develops Affordable Solar Sprayers for Agriculture

With an aim to reduce water consumption in agriculture irrigation amidst water crisis, CSIR-CMERI has developed affordable solar-powered battery sprayers for both marginal and small farmers.

The Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) is a public engineering research and development (R&D) institution in Durgapur, West Bengal, India. It is a constituent laboratory of the Indian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Recently, it has also developed the world’s largest solar tree, which is installed at CSIR-CMERI Residential Colony, Durgapur.

Agriculture, which consumes around 70 per cent of water for irrigation purpose in India, is the most vulnerable sector of the economy owing to this crisis. To address this issue there has been discussion on implementing solar pump in almost every farmland.

Apart from solar pumps, the research organisation is working on methods to reduce water consumption required for irrigation. Initially, Drip irrigation was considered but later it was realised by CSIR-CMERI that Drip irrigation is not affordable for marginal to small farmers, who are the major stake holders in Indian Agrarian scenario, they use manual sprayers which costs a few thousand rupees.

On the other hand, large amount of pesticide sprays is wasted due to lack of appropriate machinery, and soil, water and air become polluted. Thus, keeping these things in mind CSIR-CMERI developed 2 variants of battery operated spray systems one for ‘marginal famers’ and other for ‘small farmers’.

Back Pack Sprayer, having capacity of 5 litres, is made for Marginal Farmers, while the Compact Trolley Sprayer having capacity of 10 litres, is made for Small Farmers.

The systems functions on Solar-Powered batteries, thus enabling its usage even in energy and power deprived agricultural regions of the Nation, thus reducing dependence on price volatile fossil fuels. 

The Science & Technology Ministry said that, the sprayers are simple to develop, easy to learn and implement, therefore will help to overcome water crisis faced by Indian farmers.

According to experiments conducted at CSIR-CMERI for its sprayers, the engaged farmers said that these sprayers help in saving 75 per cent of water and 25 per cent time-consumption as compared to others, it added.

While elaborating on the new development, Prof. (Dr.) Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-CMERI, said that, “these couple of variants can bring about a revolution in the sphere of precision agriculture by reducing usage of water in agriculture. This revolutionary technology will help in creating agricultural avenues even in arid and semi-arid regions, as the water scarcity will no longer be feared by the farming community."

He further added, "the CSIR-CMERI developed sprayers provide a cost-effective socio-economic solution for both marginalised and small-scale farmers. The affordable pricing profile helps to provide opportunities to cottage and micro-industries in furthering the outreach factor of the technology widely.”

Power R&D | News published on 05/09/2020 by Manu Tayal

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