LEAP-RE step 2 - Long term Europe Africa Partnership on Renewable Energy

Smart stand-alone micro-grids as a solution for agriculture farms electrification – MG-FARM

Submission summary

Algeria and Morocco have ambitious plans to modernize the agricultural sector with the aims of ensuring food security and growing and diversifying exports. Due to the significant roles of energy and water in the development of agriculture, the attainment of these targets is highly dependent on sustainable development. This project concerns the development of smart microgrids based on RES to support the sustainable development of the three sectors: energy, water and agriculture.
The main objective is to adapt the system to the load profile and storage strategies of modern and sustainable agricultural practices and to serve typical requirements such as pumping, irrigating, and cooling. Furthermore, the process between generating, distributing, and storing electricity and water will be optimized e.g by identifying further RE and water sources and using reservoirs and cooling chambers as means for storage.
The opportunities of local use of the excess energy produced in the microgrid through the different seasons e.g. in neighboring farms or dwellings will be explored as well as the ideal conditions for connecting to the national grid, that would permit injection or different type of grid services (e.g. grid frequency or voltage restorations) on-demand via a buffer battery.

3 PhD co-supervised thesis subjects will be proposed, as well as the development of 2 reduced-power prototypes (10 kW) which will be installed at the Green Energy Parc (Morocco) and the UDES (Algeria). Both research structures have direct access to farms and will enable the proposed solutions to be deployed and field validated.
In addition to the training of PhD, this project will provide capacity building activities for private and public stakeholders on the nexus of modern energy, water and agriculture. It will raise awareness of the potential of RES in the respective sector and across other sectors such as gender and youth inclusion, job and SME creation in rural areas, ICT and electric mobility.

In terms of academic research, the aggregation of 3-phase medium-power microgrids without centralized supervision offers challenges in terms of energy transfer control and stability. Research aspects include the power (active and reactive) balance algorithm, the static stability of the grid frequency and grid voltage and the dynamical stability of the microgrids aggregation.
The design of buffer batteries which interact with other non-electric storages, allows for the optimal operation of these decentralized RES and their synchronisation with the respective national grid.

The intelligent management of energy packages and their codification via a blockchain-type structure calls for studying the feasibility of a distributed management of energy transfer. It also requires increased use of smart meters and IoT systems scattered across farms, e.g. in-ground sensors and irrigation systems. Long range communication with very low energy consumption (LoRa), makes it possible to create new communication structures for Plug&Play-type objects and must be integrated harmoniously into existing networks without causing any technical issues in their deployment to end-users.
The consortium includes private sector partners with experience in developing, implementing, and operating microgrids.
This research benefits local economies because it enables the modernization of farming via RE and digital solutions. This will contribute to the improvement of working and living conditions in rural areas of the Maghreb, prevent rural exodus and agricultural land abandonment. Through this, the project will contribute to the further development of food and energy security and to the growth of agricultural exports, by providing a new prosumer-type energy production and consumption model at the nexus of energy-water-agriculture and digitalization in rural areas. It contributes to MAR1,4,5 as well as to the SDGs 1,2,6,7,12 and 13 and to the COP21 emission targets of both countries.

Project coordination

Serge Pierfederici (Laboratoire d'énergétique et de mécanique théorique et appliquée)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


TUB-EET TU Berlin - Electrical Energy Storage Technology
UIR Université Internationale de Rabat, Laboratoire des Energies Renouvelables et Matériaux Avancés
TUB-WIP TU Berlin, Fachgebiet Wirtschafts- und Infrastrukturpolitik (WIP)
MEI MicroEnergy International GmbH
ENSAO Ecole Nationale des Sciences Appliquées d'Oujda
UL-LEMTA Laboratoire d'énergétique et de mécanique théorique et appliquée
UT-LAT Laboratoire d'Automatique de Tlemcen - Université de Tlemcen

Help of the ANR 349,734 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 36 Months

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