Professor Rakesh Agrawal, in the chemical engineering field at Purdue University, Indiana, is working on developing a method for farmers in the United States to harness solar energy on their land without the blockage issues so that their factories receive the necessary light, which would allow a power supply compatible with the environment.
A team led by Agrawal aims to capture infrared radiation for energy production while letting sunlight pass through to crops.
For the teacher, the concept is based on “Building a structure on agricultural land, a farmer will be able to grow corn while monitoring the land and making sure to generate electricity” in addition to the natural development of plants.
Rakesh Agrawal is already a researcher Recipient of the American National Award for Technology and InnovationIn 2011, he currently received a scholarship of $ 2.5 million, or just over € 2 million, from the National Science Foundation, who are intended to make a prototype to demonstrate their theories.
Regarding the structure that can be proposed to carry out the work, Agrawal ensures that “There are dozens of possible structures that we can build. Some are even cheaper than the ones being made now, which is why we want to build on farms and do experiments to demonstrate viability.
Crops growing under photovoltaic structures.
The professor recognizes that photovoltaic energy is currently blocking the arrival of the sun on earth, so it is necessary to look for a “Scenario that makes the arrival of light on earth compatible” so that it can be used to grow food while producing electric power.
According to Agrawal, it is necessary “A new design that is not only optimized for power generation, but also optimized for growing plants that provide food.”
In his approach, Agrawal emphasizes that plants only use part of the spectrum of sunlight for growth, which gives us the opportunity to capture the other part of the energy to produce electricity and that plants can grow under photovoltaic structures.
According to the professor’s calculations, the United States would need to cover 4 to 6% of its surface with solar panels to obtain the energy necessary to meet current needs, which include transportation. Most agglomerations are close to agricultural land, which covers 54% of the territory, which makes them suitable for the production of renewable energies.