Wick irrigation systems for subsistence farming
Author(s)Kuntz, Lauren B
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering.
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Irrigation on small-scale farms has been noted as a key method to help lift subsistence farmers out of poverty. With water scarity growing around the globe and lack of access to electricity still prevalent in rural areas, the need to develop an energy efficient irrigation system that simultaneous limits wasted water while being low cost is essential. The possibility of using a wicking irrigation system that relies on the suction plants create for water to mitigate the pumping pressure is investigated. A theoretical model for such a system is developed for an acre sized wicking irrigation system, and the power and water efficiency is compared to a standard drip irrigation system. While the wicking irrigation system has a greater distribution of water delivery from the wicks than compared to the dripper system, a wicking system has the potential to operate at much lower power, with the possibility of even being a power source. If a direct coupling could be developed between the plant's roots and wick, eliminating the need for water to travel through the soil, the energy benefit of the wicking system would be even more dramatic.
Thesis (S.B.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2013.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 59-61).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology