AEGIS: Agricultural Energy Growth Innovation Solution

The historic path that has led to agricultural mechanization and optimized yields in the United States and most of Europe has been defined by applying increased knowledge and through the use of synthetic fertilizers, heavy machinery, and fossil fuels. Taking a completely similar route in developing nations during an environment of rapidly declining availability of affordable fuel is undesirable on many levels. In our view, increased agricultural productivity and mechanization should result from divergent means if economic and environmental sustainability is to be realized.

Renewable distributive energy generation is reaching a level of maturity that makes it a realistic and feasible solution for deployment in rural agricultural areas of developing countries. The Agricultural Energy Growth Innovation Solution (AEGIS) creates a replicable model for an innovative path toward electric agricultural mechanization fueled by smart micro-grid distribution of renewable energy. These modernizing measures will accelerate the economic growth of small farming communities in emerging nations by increasing agricultural yield as well as crop value and marketability.

Technical Innovation

In traditional micro-grids powered by renewable energy sources, limited resources create a challenge for the equitable allocation of energy among users and community loads. Trama Tecnoambiental (TTA) intelligent metering micro-grid solution consists of a simple and robust system to generate and allocate affordable renewable energy for small farming communities. The system employs innovative, intelligent meters installed at all locations of energy use referred to as Energy Dispensers. These devices present many advantages and features:

  • Available energy is limited based on the rate and quantity contracted
  • Total energy consumed is measured and recorded with long duration memory storage
  • Energy Dispensers provide energy-use indicators and advice to the user
  • The plant’s level of battery charge signals bonus or restriction mode, encouraging appropriate user load management

These features result in a system that can actually provide a lower levelized cost of electricity compared to traditional micro-grid PV while offering the distributive advantages of intelligent metering. In general, TTA’s system offers an improved balance between electricity production and demand, resulting in an optimized and more reliable system that is still affordable. 

The incorporation of intelligent metering technology in tandem with charging/powering electric agricultural equipment is unique in the clean energy and agriculture nexus. AEGIS directly targets the opportunities for increased mechanization, leading to enhanced productivity and added value to crops through clean, reliable and intelligent energy production and distribution at a scale previously unexplored. These machines differ in size and function and can be made affordable through community ownership, farming cooperatives or enhanced contract farming.

Target Market

The target communities for this agriculture and clean energy nexus solution are those who are without electricity and in need of upgraded farming and agro-processing equipment. The AEGIS team plans to implement the solution first in a three year pilot project, during which business model development, implementation and optimization will take place. The goal of this project is not only local success, but also production of a replicable business model which can then be rolled out to other target communities.The lessons learned from each pilot project will help formulate a business model that is relevant for all agricultural communities that are lacking clean, affordable electricity in any part of the world. The cycle of increased agricultural productivity, heightened incomes for farmers and increasing demand for energy will further contribute to AEGIS’s sustainable clean energy business model.

Combining renewable distributive generation and electrification of agricultural equipment is an important innovation for sustainable economic growth of agricultural communities in developing nations. This allows for increased agricultural efficiency and yield without the negative impacts of diesel fuel customarily used by agricultural machines. Furthermore, intelligent metering of micro-grids is an innovative yet proven way to ensure equitable and efficient production, distribution and consumption of clean energy.