Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Limited (ASX: ROO) has successfully conducted the world’s first table grape harvest irrigated with its patented Irrigation by Condensation (IBC) solar and/or electric system which creates water solely from the condensation of humidity in the air.
The vines, planted in May 2018 and harvested in July 2019 at the Roots research and development hub in central Israel, were sustained throughout the year with water condensed on the external surface of pipes.
Boaz Wachtel, Roots co-founder and inventor of the IBC technology, said, “We are extremely pleased to harvest the first grapes grown only with irrigation from humidity in the air. The solar and electric versions produced enough water, under the ‘deficit irrigation’ concept to sustain the grape vines. This is a major achievement for Roots and we see great potential of the IBC system to address irrigation issues around the world for small and medium farm holders.
“The technology has great potential to answer acute needs of farmers around the world seeking access to clean water to irrigate small and medium plots. As climate change takes hold access for adequate quantity and quality to water to irrigate crops becomes a major issue, as aquifer or other water sources are being depleted and polluted at a rapid pace.”
“Roots’ IBC solution has attracted wide attention in the industry since we debuted it in May last year at one of the world’s leading agriculture exhibitions, Agri-Tech Israel 2018. Now that we’ve shown its effectiveness on nine different crops it is even being compared by some as comparable with the invention of drip irrigation.”
How Irrigation by Condensation works:
Roots’ breakthrough IBC installation for grapes used a combination of electric and photovoltaic power sources to chill and circulate a one-time fill-up water tank in a closed cycle. This created a stand-alone system that is able to sustain the entire growth cycle of the grape crop, 365 days a year, independently of any external water sources.
The energy produced by either the solar panels or electricity supply was used to chill the one-time fill-up water tank to below dew point in an insulated tank. A small flow pump then circulated this water in a closed cycle in pipes laid near the vines. This produced condensation on the external surface of the pipes that flowed by gravitation to the soil and roots.
The amount of water produced and required energy depend on relative humidity, air temperature, pipe numbers and surface area, and water temperature circulating in the pipes. Following a one-time purchase expense, the system operates autonomously after a single water tank fill at installation.