Development of a pump efficiency monitor for use in cotton irrigation

Szabo, Phillip (2013) Development of a pump efficiency monitor for use in cotton irrigation. [USQ Project]


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Direct energy inputs such as diesel and electricity are major costs incurred on an irrigated cotton farm. They also account for a significant proportion of the total greenhouse gas emissions from cropping systems. As energy costs continue to rise, so too does irrigator interest in assessing ways to improve their energy efficiency. Irrigators want to know how to reduce energy consumption. New techniques and equipment are required to assist irrigators in managing their energy consumption and therefore reduce running costs and meet targets. Cotton farmers use 60 -70% of their energy during the irrigation process (Ballie & Chen 2008), where large quantities of water are pumped during the irrigation season, and how efficiently this happens depends on the efficiency of the pump stations.

A Pump Efficiency Monitor (PEM) has been developed to identify pump efficiency problems. The PEM enables the continuous measurement of various pump parameters to assess efficiency and monitor energy use during an irrigation season.

The pump efficiency monitor was first trialled during the 2012/13 cotton irrigation season on a farm located at Goondiwindi, Queensland. Data for one pumping event was successfully obtained during the trial. The data was analysed to determine a combined efficiency of the pump and diesel engine. It was identified that reducing engine speed by 250 RPM would improve efficiency. A cost benefit analysis performed on the results indicates that reducing engine speed would reduce running costs for this particular pump station by 44%.

The ability of the PEM to continuously log various pump variables not only provides data to assess pump station efficiency, it also provides accurate information concerning energy use for on-farm energy assessments.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Buttsworth, David
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2014 07:09
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2014 23:38
Uncontrolled Keywords: development; pump efficiency monitor; cotton irrigation
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0913 Mechanical Engineering > 091305 Energy Generation, Conversion and Storage Engineering
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4017 Mechanical engineering > 401703 Energy generation, conversion and storage (excl. chemical and electrical)
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300201 Agricultural hydrology
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): B Economic Development > 82 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products > 8203 Industrial Crops > 820301 Cotton

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