Bales of peat set out to dry

Introduction

Peat farms have long faced a peculiar issue — internal combustion. Stacks of cut peat can be up to 2km long, 4m high and take more than a year to create. The problem lies in the core of these massive piles, where biological processes can create heat, and eventually start to burn the peat from the inside out. From the outside, there’s no indication of the problem, which means that it often isn’t discovered until the empty shell collapses into useless dust, costing farms revenue in lost sales as well as the lost time and resources spent harvesting the ruined stack.

 

The Challenge

  • Farms require signal in rural locations

  • Need a more efficient way to monitor internal temperature

  • Device must be low-power for long battery life

  
Powerpoint Engineering logo

The Solution

Previously, some peat farms would have an employee walk the peat stacks taking intermittent temperature readings. This turned out to be a full-time job, thanks to the size and number of stacks.

With SIGFOX connectivity and Connit temperature sensors, Powerpoint Engineering was able to create a 2m stainless steel probe that can be left in peat stacks to take temperature readings and trigger alarms when the heat surpasses a designated point. This allows peat operations to more efficiently monitor the status of their stacks, cutting down on manpower and protecting revenue.

Powerpoint is currently testing their device, which has agritech applications beyond peat farming.

   
 

Why SIGFOX?

Low Power

The sensors must be left in stacks for long periods of times, and therefore require a long battery life. SIGFOX technology is the most energy efficient form of connectivity on the market. Batteries in SIGFOX-enabled devices can last up to 300 times longer than those in cellular modules.

Long Range

VT’s network covers 97% of Ireland, making it ideal for agritech applications that are often in rural areas where cellular reception can be an issue. Each sensor speaks directly to one or more base stations, so no pairing or complicated setup is required.

 

Benefits

Before discovering VT and SIGFOX, Powerpoint staff had explored a variety of ways to solve this issue for their customers. They had previously considered solar power and 3G connectivity, but discovered that cellular reception was poor in the necessary rural areas and connecting solar cells was logistically difficult.

VT’s low-power, long-range SIGFOX network allowed Powerpoint to create a battery powered device that can be left in peat stacks for constant temperature monitoring, providing an efficient way to protect against lost revenue.

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