Energy in the agricultural industry: innovation, technology, and sustainability
When we think of the future of agriculture, what often comes to mind is sustainability and being able to satisfy people’s needs with a minimal impact on the environment.
To achieve this, it is necessary to have people with an innovative profile. People who are close to technology and who have a desire to try new things, to be daring.
ECOI is a company looking to deliver sustainable solutions using solar energy. With more than 13 years of experience in non-conventional, renewable energy, they provide a service promoting energy efficiency to contribute to the fight against climate change.
The company will be part of the first edition of the Agricultural Water Summit, an event that seeks to be a meeting point within the agricultural industry. It will bring together world-class experts with the purpose of analyzing the water crisis in Chile and the rest of the world, as well as provide solutions, innovations, and technology for the management and preservation of water in agriculture.
In this context, Lautaro Moreno, general manager of ECOI, spoke about the ties that exist between energy efficiency and water efficiency, and how solar energy allows the costs of agricultural companies to be reduced so that resources can be redirected to other areas.
“We are a company dedicated to renewable energy and, in terms of fruit, we are dedicated to installing photovoltaic plants so that growers can save energy,” explained Moreno
He said: "All water efficiency systems end with the grower transferring those costs he had initially, for labor, to energy."
“Our aim is that the grower pays the minimum”
Moreno also explained that as farmers become more technical, their energy costs increase. With solar energy, however, they can self-generate energy to maintain their operations.
He said ECOI provides financial guidance so that the payment of credit for the installation of a plant is like paying the electricity bill.
“We understand that with each day energy has greater importance in agriculture due to modernization in the field. So, this topic is increasingly relevant and for this reason, we offer a product that is going to be key in the future,” he said.
This is particularly true when one considers that each day consumers have a greater appreciation for fruits and vegetables that are produced with minimal environmental impact, he said.
Technology in Chile
The agricultural industry in Chile is characterized by its tradition and years of history. A product of these characteristics, though, is that growers were initially reluctant to adopt certain changes.
Moreno told us that when their product was offered five years ago, there was reticence on the part of the sector to utilize this type of technology.
He added that a lack of governmental law supporting this type of investment also contributed to the sense of reluctance.
However, the current scenario is different. Now, Moreno said, farmers are very receptive to this type of project.
He clarified that since they have managed to solve the financial challenge, they have been able to bring solar energy closer more easily.
In spite of this, due to solar energy not being cheap, Moreno did consider it necessary for there to be a country model that will permit technology to increase its expansion into the fields.
“In the end it is an industry development. Those of us who came first had to pay the initial cost, spending a lot of time and energy in trying to convince people,” he said.
In respect to the Agricultural Water Summit, Moreno commented that as energy efficiency and water efficiency go hand in hand, they are counting on the conference having many people focused on sustainability, people with innovative and technological profiles who are willing to dare to try new things.
The first edition of the Agricultural Water Summit-Chile 2021 will take place on April 20, 2021, in the Hotel Sun Monticello Conference Centre, located in San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile.
This event, organized by the Yentzen Group, will address key topics in regard to water scarcity in the different regions of Chile, as well as the importance of applying new technologies and optimizing current irrigation systems for efficient water use and management.