Program

Bærekraftig verdiskaping i mat- og biobaserte næringer (BIONÆR)

Period

01.03.2018 – 28.02.2022

Project owner
NIBIO logo on the SolarFarm project site
Research Partners
Financing

The Research Council of Norway (NFR)

SolarFarm

Exploring solar on-farm energy production combined with a fleet of electrical vehicles and precision agriculture for reduced GHG-emissions

The project is aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Norwegian agriculture by developing new technologies and solutions. A consortium, comprising experts within the research areas solar energy (photovoltaics), robotics, unmanned ground vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, fleet steering, precision agriculture and life cycle assessment, will here focus on mitigation aspects, on-farm energy production (as an alternative to fossil fuel), and on the overall sustainability of combined technologies. By including analyses of cost-benefits and consequences for policymakers, the project also aims at identifying efficient ways of implementing valuable solutions nationwide.

The research station Apelsvoll, where the Center for Precision Agriculture (CPA) is located, serves as a model farm for utilizing available roof area on farm buildings for solar energy capture, and to use this energy along with state-of-the-art precision agriculture technologies to produce food and feed in a more sustainable manner. The concept comprises a set of approaches, ranging from relatively simple solutions, e.g. for farmers with low motivation for investing in advanced technology, to more comprehensive solutions, e.g. for farmers/early adopters devoted to technology, who want to utilize the full potential. It integrates the idea of demand-based nitrogen fertilization, in which unmanned aerial vehicles for data acquisition play a central role, along with a system of semi-/autonomous and coordinated field machinery for precise fertilizer application. The concept opens for a system change in farm machinery composition, moving from one or two large and heavy diesel tractors to a few and partly unmanned electrical tractors.