Close to market solution for fossil-free farming
The HYPERFARM project has been granted €5,17 million from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to realise effective decarbonization of farms by using agrivoltaic systems while maintaining crop yield and farm productivity. The solutions will be developed through the integration of agrivoltaic systems in farms where energy production will be demonstrated in different cases.
Conventional agriculture production relies heavily on fossil fuels, particularly in its ability to provide energy at a low cost. However, the EU climate policy, the UN Paris Agreement as well as the uncertain future of fossil fuel availability and prices point to the need to explore energy efficiencies in other systems. The competitiveness of photovoltaics (PV) towards other renewable energy sources has changed dramatically over the last decade, so that PV is now as competitive as wind power. By 2050, the International Energy Agency foresees solar PV to reach 4.7 terawatts in its high-renewable scenario, making solar power the world’s largest source of electricity.
The most common approach for a solar installation in Europe is on rooftops of industrial or private buildings. Only recently, alternative locations for solar panels such as croplands are being studied. This has led to promising findings in terms of solar panel efficiency for power generation in cropland settings.
The HYPERFARM project
PNO Innovation along with the HyPeRfarm consortium will work closely together to develop a solid business case for farmers and help them facilitate the implementation of producing renewable energy on their farm and its local deployment. The project focuses on demonstrating in a cost-effective manner, that local energy production by integrating agrivoltaic systems on agricultural land is economically beneficial for farmers. Furthermore, it will improve the energetic self-sufficiency, sustainability and enhancement of farm resilience. The HYPERFARM project has defined a set of very ambitious objectives that aim to make a positive change in the agri-food sector:
- develop optimised agrivoltaic systems to guarantee sustained or even enhanced crop production, by simultaneous implementation of crop protective solutions and associated modelling tools.
- implement H2 production and usage in a cost-effective manner as reliable energy source and adjust heavy duty machinery to reduce fossil-dependency and significantly lower emission rates
- deploy on farm electricity production towards electrification of farm operations by using e-robotics on the field, intelligent climate control and e-driven pyrolysis.
- demonstrate the business case and public acceptability of producing solar-based energy sources locally on farm and use thereof to drive the daily agricultural activities and animal house feeding and heating/cooling infrastructure by air/water heat pumps and heat exchangers.
PNO will work together with 11 partners from 4 countries across Europe (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands), including key partners such us KU Leuven, Fraunhofer society, Colruyt group and Fuelsave.
PNO Innovations’ expertise will add value in the Cost analysis and exploitation, as well as Dissemination, Communication and Clustering activities. The implementation plan features seven work packages, three of which are technical in their nature.
The first consortium meeting is scheduled for 9 November 2020 where the first project steps will be defined.