Monday, March 9, 2009

Frost Protection Innovation

This bit of radio energy application work comes under the file of ‘why not before?’ We always knew radio waves heated whatever it reacted with and it is a simple leap to do what Raytheon has just done. A bit of attention to positioning and a likely modest amount of energy and you can counter the threat of frost. Some additional attention to antenna design is likely an ongoing challenge.

Integrate this with field sensors and a little bit of built-in flexibility and it could be bullet proof.

This also suggests that it will be possible to expand the range on certain very vulnerable crops into additional growing regimes. After all, the frost problem has always been a brief event either early or late in the growing season.

Anyway, the success of this research is very good news. It will not save a crop from a once a century sleet storm but it will allow the last couple of week of harvest to be brought under control.

Raytheon Technology Protects Crops From Frost

by Staff WritersTewksbury MA (SPX) Mar 06, 2009

Raytheon Company is taking the fight to the frost with a new system using radio frequency technology. Raytheon's Tempwave radiant heating system offers a more efficient way to warm crops and avoid the adverse effects of frost on the growing season.

The Tempwave system delivers energy directly to a crop without heating the intervening air. It works to prevent freeze damage in both radiation and advection frost events.

The system is silent in operation, uses no water, emits no smoke, and unlike a wind machine, it does not rely on environmental conditions for its effectiveness.

"Our expertise in radio frequency has enabled a disruptive product that frees growers from the limits and variations inherent in existing frost protection methods," said Lee Silvestre, vice president Mission Innovation for Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems.

"Tempwave autonomously and precisely delivers energy directly where it's needed to prevent freezing."

In successful concept testing on citrus crops in California, Tempwave radiators on towers were arrayed in an orchard, powered by grid electricity, and provided the needed coverage and intensity to protect orange groves from frost damage.

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