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Destruction of cottonwood suckers with electric weeding equipment using power electronics

Grant number: 22/01724-1
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: July 01, 2022 - December 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agricultural Engineering - Agricultural Machinery and Implements
Convênio/Acordo: FINEP - PIPE/PAPPE Grant
Principal Investigator:Sergio de Andrade Coutinho Filho
Grantee:Sergio de Andrade Coutinho Filho
Host Company:Zasso Brasil Indústria e Comércio de Máquinas Ltda
CNAE: Atividades de pós-colheita
Fabricação de máquinas e equipamentos para a agricultura e pecuária, exceto para irrigação
Pesquisa e desenvolvimento experimental em ciências físicas e naturais
City: Indaiatuba
Associated researchers: Adriano Alves de Andrade


The demand for a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable alternative to the agrotoxics widelly used in agriculture has been growing due to the harm they cause. Zasso believes that the world deserves a viable solution to chemicals and seeks to offer economically and environmentally sustainable, socially responsible and operationally superior solutions as alternatives to agrochemicals. Our vision is that we will have a chemical-free agriculture. Electrical weeding has the capability to eliminate plants without affecting surrounding crops, as well as solving the growing resistance to herbicides. Over the years Zasso has made several adaptations to the equipment, enabling its use in urban environments (project "Power Modules for Urban Electric Weeding" - FAPESP 2018/22491-0 - PAPPE/PIPE Grant) and in permaculture. Due to the proliferation of pests such as the cotton bollworm (Anthonomus grandis) between crops, in various parts of the world, but especially in Brazil, there is a need to make a sanitary vacuum in cotton farming. For the success of the fallow period it is essential that the cotton plant does not regrow. Currently the most common control method is to make one pass of the "Triton" (brush cutter) and two applications of a chemical herbicide known as 2,4-D (2,4-D, the simplified name of dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, is one of the most common and oldest herbicides in the world). Due to the lack of leaves on the plants and the woodiness of the stem leaving the electrical conductivity of the plants very low, it has never been possible to use electric weeding before this development. The idea to be developed in this project consists in the creation of an equipment to kill the cotton plant stumps with the use of power electronics modules and specific applicators for this purpose. This project seeks, through the implementation of power electronics concepts, which was developed in the project Power Modules for Urban Electric Weeding - FAPESP 2018/22491-0 - PAPPE/PIPE Grant, to adjust the power of these modules added to the construction of specific applicators, as well as the implementation of automatic, intuitive, and intelligent control, supervision, and protection systems. These proposed applicators are in a patent application prosecuted by Zasso in 2021.Besides the technical challenges to achieve this goal, we will need to design an equipment that is economically viable, so that growers become interested in replacing the application of herbicides. Because of the enormous gains in sustainability, we believe that it does not need to be cheaper, but it needs to have a value that does not generate a significant cost increase. Based on the results obtained in the experiment conducted by the Fundação MT using the prototype built for this purpose, two work fronts will be developed, the applicator specific for use in stubble and that is plug and play on the power platform and the second front is on the power modules that will be re-evaluated and a new version will be launched that can be used both in traditional electric weeding and for the control of cultural remaider. The equipment will be modernized for this new reality and adjusted for industrial production, increasing the range of applications that the power modules will have. Making them much more viable than if they had only one use. (AU)

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