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Report 4

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ENGR 201 – 3D Modeling & Workshops
Report #: (4)
Title
Mechanical system in Agriculture
field
Group Code:
201S2-03
Date:
17th of March. 2018
Week #:
6
Spring 2018
Contents
Part 1: Rotary Hydroponic .................................................................................................................. 2
Advantages: ....................................................................................................................................... 2
Disadvantages and Challenges: ....................................................................................................... 6
Materials ............................................................................................................................................ 9
Links and functions......................................................................................................................... 13
Features............................................................................................................................................ 14
Construction .................................................................................................................................... 14
Part 2 : Solar panels............................................................................................................................ 15
What are solar panels? ................................................................................................................... 15
How much electricity does a solar panel produce? ...................................................................... 15
What are the best batteries for solar? ........................................................................................... 16
How to connect a solar panel with a battery? .............................................................................. 17
Averaged Cost: ................................................................................................................................ 17
Averaged Dimensions: .................................................................................................................... 17
Part 3: Water desalination ................................................................................................................. 18
Materials .......................................................................................................................................... 18
ENGR 201 – Spring 2018
1
Part 1: Rotary Hydroponic
A rotary hydroponic garden is a style of commercial hydroponics
created within a circular frame which rotates continuously during
the entire growth cycle of whatever plant is being grown.
While system specifics vary, systems typically rotate once per
hour, giving a plant 24 full turns within the circle each 24-hour
period. Within the center of each rotary hydroponic garden is a
high intensity grow light, designed to simulate sunlight, often with
the assistance of a mechanized timer.
Each day, as the plants rotate, they are periodically watered with a
hydroponic growth solution to provide all nutrients necessary for
robust growth. Due to the plants continuous fight against gravity,
plants typically mature much more quickly than when grown in soil
or other traditional hydroponic growing systems. Due to the small foot print a rotary
hydroponic system has, it allows for more plant material to be grown per square foot of floor
space than other traditional hydroponic systems.
Advantages:
1. No soils needed
In a sense, you can grow crops in places where the soil is limited, doesn't exist, or is heavily
contaminated. In the 1940s, Hydroponics was successfully used to supply fresh vegetables for
troops in Wake island, a refueling stop for Pan American airlines. This is a distant arable area
in the Pacific Ocean. Also, Hydroponics has been considered as the farming of the future to
grow foods for astronauts in the space (where there is no soil) by NASA.
2. Make better use of space and location
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2
Because all that plants need are provided and maintained in a system, you can grow in your
small
apartment,
or
the spare bedrooms as
long as
you
have some
spaces.
Plants' roots usually expand and spread out in search for foods, and oxygen in the soil. This is
not the case in Hydroponics, where the roots are sunk in a tank full of oxygenated nutrient
solution and directly contact with vital minerals. This means you can grow your plants much
closer, and consequently huge space savings.
3. Climate control
Like in greenhouses, hydroponic growers can have total control over the climate - temperature,
humidity, light intensification, the composition of the air. In this sense, you can grow foods all
year round regardless of the season. Farmers are able to produce foods at the appropriate time
to maximize their business profits.
4. Hydroponics is water-saving
Plants grown hydroponically can use only 10% of water compared to field-grown ones. In this
method, water is recirculated. Plants will take up the necessary water, while run-off ones will
be captured and return to the system. Water loss only occurs in two forms - evaporation and
leaks from the system (but an efficient hydroponic setup will minimize or don't have any leaks).
It is estimated that agriculture uses up to 80% water of the ground and surface water in the US.
While water will become a huge issue in the future when the food production is predicted to
increase by 70% according to the FAQ, Hydroponics is considered a viable solution to largescale food production.
5. Effective use of nutrients
In Hydroponics, you have a 100% control of the nutrients (foods) that plants need. Before
planting, growers can check what plants require and the specific amounts of nutrients needed
at specific stages and mix them with water accordingly. Nutrients are conserved in the tank, so
there are no losses or changes of nutrients like they are in the soil.
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6. pH control of the solution
All of the minerals are contained in the water. That means you can measure and adjust the pH
levels of your water mixture much more easily compared to the soils. That ensures the optimal
nutrients uptake for plants.
7. Better growth rate
Is
hydroponically
plants
grown
faster
than
in
soil?
Yes,
it
is.
You are your own boss that commands the whole environment for your plants' growth temperature, lights, moisture, and especially nutrients. Plants are placed in ideal conditions,
while nutrients are provided at the sufficient amounts, and come into direct contacts with the
root systems. Thereby, plants no longer waste valuable energy searching for diluted nutrients
in the soil. Instead, they shift all of their focus on growing and producing fruits.
8. No weeds
If you have grown in the soil, you will understand how irritating weeds cause to your garden.
It's one of the most time-consuming tasks for gardeners - till, plow, hoe, and so on. Weeds are
mostly associated with the soil. So eliminate soils and all bothers of weeds are gone.
9. Fewer pests & diseases
And like weeds, getting rids of soils helps make your plants less vulnerable to soil-borne pests
like birds, gophers, groundhogs; and diseases like Fusarium, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia
species.Also when growing indoors in a closed system, the gardeners can easily take controls
of most surrounding variables.
10. Less use of insecticide, and herbicides
Since you are using no soils and while the weeds, pests, and plant diseases are heavily reduced,
there are fewer chemicals used. This helps you grow cleaner and healthier foods. Definitely, a
strong point of Hydroponics when the criteria for modern life and food safety are more and
more placed on top.
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11. Labor and time savers
Besides spending fewer works on tilling, watering, cultivating, and fumigating weeds and
pests, you enjoy much time saved because plants' growth is proven to be higher in Hydroponics.
When agriculture is planned to be more technology-based, Hydroponics definitely has a room
in it.
12. Hydroponics is a stress-relieving hobby
This interest will put you back in touch with nature. Tired after a long working day and
commute, you return to your small apartment corner, it's time to lay back everything and play
with your hydroponic garden. Reasons like lack of spaces are no longer true. You can start
fresh, tasty vegetables, or vital herbs in your small closets, and enjoy the relaxing time with
your small green spaces.
Seem like there are lots of benefits of Hydroponics and the image below seems to try to
persuade you into Hydroponic growing. But keep reading to learn about its downsides.
ENGR 201 – Spring 2018
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Disadvantages and Challenges:
13. Hydroponic garden requires your time and commitment
Just like any things worthwhile in life, hard-working and responsible attitude gives satisfactory
yields. However, if in soil-borne counterparts, plants can be left on its own for days and weeks.
Yet, it still survives in a short time. Mother nature and soils will help regulate if something is
not balancing. That's not the case in Hydroponics. Plants will die out more quickly without
proper care and good knowledge. Remember that your plants are depending on you for their
survival. You must take good care of your plants, and the system upon initial installation. Then
you can automate the whole thing later, but you still need to gauge and prevent the unexpected
issues of the operations, and do frequent maintenance.
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14. Experiences and technical knowledge
You are running a system of many types of equipment, which requires necessary specific
knowledge for the devices used, what plants you can grow and how they can survive and thrive
in a soilless environment. Mistakes in setting up the systems and plants' growth ability in this
soilless environment and you end up ruining your whole progress.
15. Organic debates
There have been some heated arguments about whether Hydroponics should be certified as
organic or not. People are questioning whether plants grown hydroponically will get
microbiomes as they are in the soil. But people around the world have grown hydroponic plants
- lettuces, tomatoes, strawberries, etc for tens of years, especially in Australia, Tokyo,
Netherland, and the United States. They have provided food for millions of people. You cannot
expect perfection for any type of things in life. Even for soil growing, there are still more risks
of pesticides, pests, etc compared to Hydroponics. There are some organic growing methods
suggested for Hydroponic growers. For example, some growers provide microbiomes for
plants by using totally organic growing media such as coco coir and add worm casting into it.
Organic
nutrients
are
used
like
fish,
bone,
alfalfa,
cottonseed,
neem,
etc.
For this debate for the organic product issue, there will still be researches done currently and
in the near future. And we'll know the answer then.
16. Water and electricity risks
In a Hydroponic system, mostly you use water and electricity. Beware of electricity in a
combination of water in close proximity. Always put safety first when working with the
systems and electric equipment, especially in commercial greenhouses.
17. System failure threats
You are using electricity to manage the whole system. So suppose you do not take preliminary
actions for a power outage, the system will stop working immediately, and plants may dry out
ENGR 201 – Spring 2018
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quickly and will die in several hours. Hence, a backup power source and plan should always
be planned beforehand, especially for great scale systems.
18. Initial expenses
You are sure to spend under one hundred to a few hundreds of dollars (depending on your
garden scale) to purchase equipment for your the first installation. Whatever systems you build,
you will need containers, lights, a pump and/or a timer, growing media, nutrients). Once the
system has been in place, the cost will be reduced to only nutrients and electricity (to keep the
water system running, and lightning).
19. Long return per investment
If you follow news on agriculture start-up, you may have known that there have been some
new indoor hydroponic business started recently. That's a good thing for the agriculture sector
and the development of Hydroponics as well. However, commercial growers still face some
big challenges when starting with Hydroponics on a large-scale. This is largely because of the
high initial expenses and the long uncertain ROI (return on investment). It's not easy to detail
a clear profitable plan to urge for investment while there are also many other interesting hightech fields out there that seem fairly promising for funding.
20. Diseases & pests may spread quickly
You are growing plants in a closed system using water. In the case of plant infections or
pests, they can escalate fast to plants on the same nutrient reservoir. In most cases, diseases
and pests are not so much of problem in a small system of home growers.
ENGR 201 – Spring 2018
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Materials
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Links and functions
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Features
•
1 piece High Density Polyethylene FDA certified food grade plastic cylinder
•
1 cylinder drive motor
•
1 ABS food-grade plastic feed tray
•
4 - 39 watt T-5 6400K Fluorescent lamps
•
1 - 400 gallon per hour Mag Drive pump (North America only)
•
1 Heavy duty stand
•
80 plant holders
•
easy to assemble and operate
•
plugs into a standard 110V outlet
•
24" diameter x 42" tall by 38" long, with stand 48" long
Construction
The rotary is made of precision molded plastic. It is designed to hold 1.5" root medium from
propagation slabs (98 per tray flat) and accommodates space for up to 80 plants
ENGR 201 – Spring 2018
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Part 2 : Solar panels
What are solar panels?
Solar panels are devices that convert light into electricity. They are called "solar" panels
because most of the time, the most powerful source of light available is the Sun, called Sol by
astronomers. A solar panel is a collection of solar cells. Lots of small solar cells spread over a
large area can work together to provide enough power to be useful. The more light that hits a
cell, the more electricity it produces, so spacecraft are usually designed with solar panels that
can always be pointed at the Sun even as the rest of the body of the spacecraft moves around,
much as a tank turret can be aimed independently of where the tank is going.
How much electricity does a solar panel produce?
The amount of electricity a solar panel produces depends on three main things: the size of the
panel, the efficiency of the solar cells inside, and the amount of sunlight the panel gets.
Solar panel output per day and per month:
Using the example above of a 250-watt STC rated panel, if you multiply the 250 watts the
panel produces by the number of hours of full sun you get in a day, you’ll get the amount of
kwh that panel produces per day. Multiply by 30 days and you’ll get mothly kWh output for
the panel. The average roof in the United States gets about 4 hours of usable sun per day.
We know the sun shines more than 4 hours, but “full sun” is a measurement that combines all
the parts of the day when the sun is lower in the sky into one number.
Using 4 hours of full sun, gives you this equation: 250 watts x 4 hours. That’s 1 kWh (1,000
watts) in a day per 250-watt panel.If you multiply 1kWh per panel by 30 days in a month,
you’ll find that each 250 watt rated panel will produce about 30 kWh in an average month.
ENGR 201 – Spring 2018
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On or off the grid?
Since solar panels only generate power as the sun shines, you’ll need a way to store the energy.
Though it’s possible to use a battery for storage, the easiest (and cheapest) solution for most
people is to stay connected to the grid.
If
your solar panels are producing more energy than you’re using—when you’re at work, on
vacation, or just not running many devices—excess power will flow back into the grid. In many
locations, utility companies offer a program called “net metering” that can compensate you for
extra power you produce. At night, or anytime you need extra power, you’ll pull it from the
grid. With a grid-connected system, you’ll never need to worry if you happen to need more
power than your solar system has been sized to provide. You may also choose to supply only
part of your average electricity bill with solar, and use the grid for the rest.
What are the best batteries for solar?
ENGR 201 – Spring 2018
16
How to connect a solar panel with a battery?

the first thing you want to do is charge your batteries with a charger. This will insure
they are charged to capacity and ready to go at set up. I purchased my batteries new and
were only at about 60%.

Once the batteries are fully charged, place them in the container and. Make sure all the
positive (+) terminals are on one side and negative (-) on the other. Once in place,
measure from terminal to terminal to make the jumpers.

Make sure to size your jumpers for your system. If you want to use a larger inverter you
will need to use larger cable. 1200 Watts/12 Volts = 100 Amps. Depending on where
you look, 2 AWG cable is good for around 100 Amps. If you want to run say, a 2400
watt inverter, you should use 2 cables per jumper.

Now, add some holes in the lid to run the wires for the charge controller and the inverter.
I wanted the charge controller outside so it was visible. You could just as easily put it
inside the container for a more concealed look.

Next we connect the charge controller and the inverter to the batteries. You will want
to make sure the inverter is turned off and the charge controller is not connected to the
solar panels yet.

It should all be wired together. All that is left is to connect the charge controller to the
solar panels and turn the inverter on and check to see that it works.
Averaged Cost:
Solar panels $250
Marine batteries $240
2 AWG Cable $5
Lugs $8
1200 W inverter $13
Averaged Dimensions:
The average size of solar panels used in a rooftop solar installation is approximately 65 inches
by 39 inches, or 5.4 feet by 3.25 feet. There is some variation from brand to brand, and if you’re
installing a large-scale solar panel system (such as for a warehouse or a municipal building)
your panels will be closer to 6 feet long. Every solar panel is made up of individual solar
photovoltaic (PV) cells. PV cells come in a standard size of 156 square millimeters, which is
approximately 6 inches long and 6 inches wide. Most solar panels for rooftop solar installations
ENGR 201 – Spring 2018
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are made up of 60 solar cells, while the standard for commercial solar installations is 72
cells (and can go up to 98 cells or more).
Part 3: Water desalination
Most of the Egyptian people are suffering from many problems related directly to water. These
problems could be briefly identified as the water shortage in many cities especially in the
coastal cities, the high amount of the wasted water, in addition to the treated sewage which is
not used in many cities. I have devised a system which solves most of these problems. So it
will have its own source of pure water instead of getting water from distant areas and reuse the
sewage in Hydroponics.
The project consists of three phases: The first one is the desalination of seawater using
vapor pressure technique. The second one is the electronic water network. Finally, in the third
one I reuse the sewage in Hydroponics.
Materials
Material
Vacuum Pump
Work Condition
(HG-120) 120 watt used to absorb air in order to decrease the pressure then
o
the boiling point to 25 .
Cylindrical
container
With size of 10 L, height of 35 cm, width of 20 cm and thickness of 5 ml. It
is made of stainless steel because it can resist pressure (the pressure outside
the container equals 31.28 times the pressure inside the container).
Glass container
With size of 8 L and its dimensions 20*20*20 cm, used to condense water
and save the vacuum pump components from water vapor and it has three
holes .
ENGR 201 – Spring 2018
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The first hose is 2m long, diameter 30ml . The second one is 2m long,
diameter 25 ml and the third one is 1m long, diameter 18ml.
Hoses
Calcite Filter
Used to add the normal percentages of minerals found in portable water.
Flow-Rate sensor
Used to measure the rate of the water passed every hour.
Arduino Uno
Is an open source programming chip used as a brain for the flow-rate sensor.
ENGR 201 – Spring 2018
19
ENGR 201 – Spring 2018
20
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