What is in this article?:
- Tool helps farmers access water with solar power
- Into the field
- Tom Jenkins is developing tools to show New Mexico's farmers and ranchers how they can use one of our state's most plentiful resources, the sun, to access one of the most scarce, water.
Into the field
At the same time, Cody Anderson, Felicia Costales and Andres Galvan, under the tutelage of Craig Ricketts, associate engineering technology professor, designed and built a portable solar-powered water pumping demonstration unit that could be taken into the field. The unit can simulate pumping from depths up to 400 feet. It is outfitted with a small solar panel that collects heat energy from sunlight and converts it to electricity to power a high-pressure a submersible pump in a 50-gallon storage vessel. It is available for extension agents to demonstrate how solar power could be used to pump well water to the agricultural community.
Jenkins received funding from the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network and the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium to further develop the spreadsheet, which, in conjunction with the Cooperative Extension Service, was presented to agents in Corona, N.M as a short course in late November. It is hoped that Extension agents use the spreadsheet to assist their clientele in the agricultural community.
Jenkins has applied for additional funding to continue developing the spreadsheet and hopes to release a second version of the spreadsheet with new features. He also is contemplating solutions for two other farming issues: water that freezes in the winter and water with high concentrations of dissolved minerals, particularly sulfur.
"My particular area of interest is in renewable energy," said Jenkins.
"There is a lot of expertise throughout the College of Engineering that could be utilized for the benefit of the New Mexico agricultural community."
"The Engineering New Mexico Resource Network is committed to developing innovative approaches to help improve the quality of life for the residents of our state," said Ricardo B. Jacquez, dean of the College of Engineering.