Solar milling machine connected to the solar PV, Courtesy of SEINE TECH
Whether they are consumed as grains or flour they are always products in high demand in Africa - these being cereals such maize, sorghum, millet and wheat. According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) most African countries face climate change effects which will result in food insecurity, and with these cereal crops mostly grown as a solution to fight against hunger they of upmost importance. One of the issues with these widely consumed crops is when people want to grind them and consume them as flour, with most remote areas lacking access to electricity and therefore use expensive fossil fuel to run milling machines.
SEINE TECH-a Spanish based company understands well the concept of solar energy and providing solar milling machines as a solution to rural populations. Since 2012 they have dedicated their efforts to develop agro-machinery driven by solar energy. Their first expertise was in solar pumping systems and then the idea came after realizing the issue that most farmers face in developing countries is grinding the grain cereals into flour. Now SEINE TECH has major interests in Africa and its demand is very high.
How does it work?
The solar PV Grain Mill uses the same concept as any electrical mill, with a 3-phase AC motor which is directly connected to the grinding system, however it does not need a conveyer belt as compared to the traditional or common grinding mill which have a low efficiency due to the friction losses in the belt system. The main invention of the system is, which makes it unique among PV systems, is its “direct drive system” that can work without the need of batteries. The Solar PV generator converts solar radiation into electricity, and the generated electricity directly feeds the motor drive. There are no additional conversion losses, such as energy storage losses in batteries, battery maintenance or replacement costs, which are a common problem in conventional Solar PV off-grid systems.
“We always encourage our clients in the field to develop the most appropriate machinery adapted to their context and we will always support them to turn it into solar,” Josep Margets, SEINE TECH Manager
It has great benefits:
- Solar PV Grain Milling is clean energy; there is no emission of greenhouse gases.
- Solar Grain Milling is simple to operate.
- Solar Grain Milling incurs no running costs and only very low maintenance cost.
Africa is in a good position to grab these solar powered opportunities with its tropical climate with high solar radiation and predictable sunshine time. With many new solar-related projects arsing to benefit not only the urban population but also the rural people.