Investigating off-grid systems for a mobile milking facility

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Energy and Technology

Abstract: This study examined the possible renewable energy sources that can provide the necessary power for a mobile Off-grid Automated Milking System (AMS) at a grazing pasture. This involved choosing the most cost effective, environmental friendly and sustainable mean for a mobile AMS which aims to be operating between months of May to September at a rate of milking 20 cows per day. The approach involved using weather data, input from the milking system manufacturer-DeLaval along with two models, Insight Maker and HOMER which were used to investigate various renewable energy sources for the mobile facility. Renewables such as Biodiesel, Ethanol, Biogas run generators along with Solar PV panels + Batteries were considered for the current study. Based on site’s specifics and given environment, three main evaluating parameters were used to identify the most suitable renewable energy source. These entailed Net Present Cost, Levelized Cost of Energy, and Levels of CO2 emissions per year. In line with the obtained results and comparisons made, the study recommended the adoption of Solar PV panels + Batteries for the mobile facility. Moreover, the study discussed further means for addressing possible challenges that could be encountered upon implementation. Recommendations provided by the manufacturer DeLaval were also highlighted for achieving better energy conservations and hence a more efficient system. The thesis also highlighted the technological development and the continuing reduction of Solar PV+Batteries costs worldwide along with Sweden’s grid and off-grid projections for years 2030 & 2040 and how these both stand in favor of off-grid systems diffusion and adoption in the near future. Yet simultaneously and in order to achieve a successful off-grid system for a mobile AMS, close monitoring and assessing of other factors was recommended. Factors such as the Milking Frequency, Cow and Grazing management, understanding the effects to and from the surrounding environment, maintaining cattle welfare along with grasping the knowledge of both present and future scenarios would help achieve the resilient environmental friendly off-grid mobile AMS facility aimed for.

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