Design, Fabrication and Testing of a Solar Powered Forage Chopper
MetadataShow full item record
Uganda is an agricultural country and its livestock sector contributes 15% of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in form of milk and meat (UBOS & MAAIF, 2018). UBOS & MAAIF, (2018) highlights that this livestock sector is a source of livelihood to about 2.4 million agricultural households in the country. Chopping forage into smaller pieces for livestock is important because it enables livestock to take in more feeds in short periods of time using minimal energy. The current practice by most livestock farmers to collect and chop forage for livestock using elementary methods is very cumbersome. Use of choppers powered by hydro-electricity is expensive. Choppers powered by fossil fuel engines present the same challenge as the former but also contribute to the negative climate change. Manual forage choppers are associated with negative health related issues. There is need to find a new forage chopping solution for livestock farmers but this time in a sustainable way. Renewable energy sources which are readily available can be used to power forage chopping machines. In this work, a solar powered forage chopper is developed and tested. The main components of the prototype are the solar power part that is; solar panels, charge controller and the inverter. A motor, flywheel, blades, feed rollers and a gear box are also parts of the machine. The machine’s performance was tested in regards to capacity and efficiency using Napier grass. The capacity and efficiency were found to be 275Kg/h and 63% respectively. The machine is expected to minimize use of hydro-electricity and fossil fuels in forage chopping thus, a great innovation for livestock farmers.