Hybrid power cuts diesel usage and keeps crops growing
When a Brazilian farm needed to upgrade its power plant to a hybrid solution, electrical engineering company NEMA worked with DEIF Brazil to design a solution that keeps the all-important irrigation systems running while saving diesel and reducing emissions.
The farms dotting the landscape in rural central Brazil produce a variety of crops and livestock – but they cannot do it without irrigation: The rainy season is short, and without water from rivers, wells, and canals, many farms would be unable to produce anything at all.
Irrigation systems are therefore absolutely critical on most farms, and so is a local power source: Many rural areas are not covered by the national power grid, and other power sources must be found to keep the water flowing. One obvious solution is to employ diesel generators, but one farm has started its journey towards a more economical and climate-friendly solution.
"DEIF have the necessary technology
to integrate diesel and PV sources"
Maicon Joni Kurth
Hybrid solution with DEIF controllers
The irrigation pumps were originally powered by generators, but the farm has upgraded to a hybrid power system by adding photovoltaic (PV) panels. The upgrade was carried out by Brazilian electrical engineering company NEMA, and the control solution is based on DEIF controllers.
“There is a commitment by the farm not to increase CO2 emissions, and a need to reduce diesel consumption costs,” says Maicon Joni Kurth, responsible for automation of application generator sets at NEMA. His company designed, installed, tested, and commissioned the hybrid power solution with three generators and four solar inverters controlled by three DEIF AGC 150 Generator controllers and a DEIF ASC-4 Solar controller. The farm also received an Insight remote monitoring solution for online monitoring of the power plant, and local training at the offices of DEIF Brazil.
The solution includes three AGC 150 Genset controllers, an ASC-4 Solar controller, and Insight remote monitoring
DEIF products and services used
Testing, commissioning, and training
The technology to integrate diesel and PV
In business since 1988, NEMA is an experienced player in the Brazilian electrical market. “More than 30 years in the market have given us all the technical know-how necessary for any electrical demand of our customers,” says Maicon Joni Kurth. “Today, we offer electrical solutions in several areas, from resale of materials, assembly of electrical panels, electrical installations, solar energy, and genset manufacturing.”
When NEMA went looking for a controller vendor capable of fulfilling the requirements of the project, they selected another experienced player. “We chose DEIF Brazil due to the fact that they have the necessary technology to integrate diesel and PV sources,” remarks Maicon Joni Kurth who also emphasises the cost and benefits of the proposed solution – and the spirit of cooperation and support that he experienced at the local DEIF office.
“From the beginning of the project, we were very well received by the DEIF Brazil team,” he says. “They provided training and support with an agility that ensured compliance with the project deadlines, which were very tight.”
Saving diesel and reducing emissions
The solution was installed and commissioned in April 2022. The hybrid generator and PV system enables the irrigation pumps to collect and distribute water on the farm, keeping the corn, soybean, cotton, and sorghum crops growing. The system is configured so that the PV panels complement the generators.
“The entire system works automatically,” explains Maicon Joni Kurth. “The operator just triggers a command to start the entire system, and the client is satisfied with the results. The main thing is saving diesel and reducing emissions.”
The NEMA professional adds that DEIF played an important role in getting the solution up and running. “DEIF’s support was essential for the success of the project,” he says. “The training was succinct and objective, and commissioning at the factory was crucial to ensure the agility of the final commissioning in the field.”
"DEIF’s support was essential for the success of the project"
Maicon Joni Kurth
Quick facts about NEMA
Activities: electrical installations, solar energy, genset manufacturing, and more
Headquarters: Rio do Sul, Santa Catarina state, Brazil
Battery storage could be next
With the completion of the project, the crops can keep growing, and the end user can enjoy diesel savings and emission reductions – and keep an eye on the power plant remotely over an online connection. However, evolution never stops, and NEMA is already investigating the use of battery energy storage systems in hybrid applications; a solution that can provide additional financial and environmental benefits by allowing users to store green power and increasing generator efficiency.
“NEMA intends to propose solutions with batteries to projects already in operation, including this specific project,” says Maicon Joni Kurth. If NEMA or the farm decides to add battery storage, the DEIF controllers can easily be reconfigured for the updated application – and in fact, this flexibility and the wide range of integration options is what Maicon Joni Kurth likes the most about the DEIF controllers he has worked with. “They allow a wide range of solutions,” he concludes.
In rural central Brazil, the rainy season is short, and irrigation is necessary to water crops and livestock
Walysson Henrique Faria Pereira
Sales Account Manager