Energy Reduction and Uniformity of Low-Pressure Online Drip Irrigation Emitters in Field Tests
Impact factor: 2.069 (Year: 2019)
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Julia Sokol, Susan Amrose, Vinay Nangia, Samer Talozi, Elizabeth Brownell, Gianni Montanaro, Khaled Abu Naser, Khalil Bany Mustafa, Abdeljabar Bahri, Bassou Bouazzama, Abdelaziz Bouizgaren, Naem Mazahrih, Rachid Moussadek, Lhassane Sikaoui, Amos. Winter. (7/6/2019). Energy Reduction and Uniformity of Low-Pressure Online Drip Irrigation Emitters in Field Tests. WATER, 11 (6).
A promising way of addressing the issue of growing water scarcity is through wider use of drip irrigation, which delivers water and fertilizer to crops in a slow, targeted manner, and has been shown to increase yields and water use efficiency. Yet, drip irrigation system adoption is low, primarily due to the high capital cost of the pressurized piping network and the pump, and operating energy cost. Lowering the water pressure needed for drip emitters to deliver water can reduce both capital and operating costs of drip systems. Here we present the results from field trials of new pressure-compensating online drip emitters that operate with a minimum compensating inlet pressure of 15 kPa (0.15 bar), in comparison to typical commercial emitters with minimum pressures of 50–100 kPa (0.5–1.0 bar). The field trials were carried out on nine farms in Morocco and Jordan over the course of one irrigation season with freshwater and treated wastewater. Low-pressure emitters are shown to reduce hydraulic energy per unit volume of water delivered by 43% on average compared to commercial emitters, without significantly sacrificing water emission uniformity (low-pressure emitters show uniformities of 81–91%, compared to 87–96% for commercial emitters). This energy reduction could lead to savings of 22–31% in the capital cost of a pump and emitters and the energy cost for a typical drip irrigation system. Thus, the low-pressure online emitters can be used as substitutes to commercial emitters that require higher water pressures, leading to reduced environmental impact and lower system costs.
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