Efficient Mobile Power Supply and Energy Reclamation for Linear-move and Center-pivot Irrigation Systems

Period of Performance: 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

3135 E 11TH AVE
Spokane, WA 99202
Principal Investigator


SITUATION/PROBLEM: In the U.S., manual-move irrigation (hand-lines and wheel-lines, ~ 70% efficient) is employed on 5 million acres and furrow/gravity irrigation (~55% efficient) is employed on 23 million acres. Much of these lands comprise high-value crops and/or parcels shaped other than square or circle. For example, California has 5.7 million gravity-irrigated acres, mostly high value crops. California faces the most significant water crisis in history. After three years of drought, water reserves are at record lows. The Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta ecosystem is near collapse as evident by the $170,000,000 West Coast Salmon Fishery Collapse appropriation last June. Pumping restrictions cost California's economy an estimated $350,000,000 in 2008 and are projected to cost some $2,000,000,000 this year. Linear-move irrigators constitute the most efficient overhead applicator of agriculture irrigation water (~90% efficient) and, thus, are preferable on high value crops or where water is expensive. Linear move irrigators effectively irrigate squares, rectangles, L-shapes, adjacent rectangles and enable pivot/linear combo irrigation. However, deployment of linear irrigators remains hamstrung due to largely prohibitive operating expenses. PURPOSE: For many years, Hydrolinear Irrigators has been developing a very affordable-to-operate linear-move irrigator. The subsequent major reduction in operating expense is anticipated to unlock the potential of the linear irrigator such that conversion to linear irrigation will become greatly more attractive on the above mentioned 5 million manual-move and 23 million gravity-irrigated acres. Unfortunately, this technology was developed when oil was $15 per barrel and, thus, diesel power generation was then a viable power supply for moving the linear irrigator. SBIR funding provides for completion of a working example of a high efficiency power supply. The presently employed diesel generator can then be supplanted with the high efficiency power supply. Hydrolinear can then commercialize the affordable linear-move irrigator.