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New research project with MagGrow: the Irish SME leading quest for more efficient spray technology

4 October 2018

AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for materials science based at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has today announced a research collaboration with MagGrow, an Irish SME based in Dublin. The overall goal of the jointly funded project, with leading magnet scientist Prof. Michael Coey, is to investigate the physical basis for the magnetic effects attributed to the MagGrow spraying technology.

At the moment 70% of pesticide spray does not reach the target crop. MagGrow’s innovative sprayer technology gives better coverage than conventional crop spraying systems, resulting in increased coverage of the target plant, and reduced water usage. It reduces drift of the spray chemicals targeting them exactly where they are needed with benefits to the health of agricultural workers and soil. The MagGrow technology, which has been researched and developed over the last six years, uses permanent magnets to achieve these results. Prof. Coey and his colleagues will investigate under field and laboratory conditions the magnetic effects underpinning MagGrow technology, as it exists today, and the potential it offers to create new innovative solutions for agriculture, irrigation, and other industrial applications in the future.

The aim of this project is to investigate the physical basis for the magnetic effects of the MagGrow magnet-assisted agricultural sprayer technology, using both field and laboratory-based research. After initial characterisation of the effects of MagGrow technology in the field, a working rig, comprising representative components and associated magnets, of the MagGrow boom-based sprayer system will be set up at TCD. This will be used to investigate systematically the influence of the magnets on spray characteristics, droplet size distribution, and spray coverage, with a view to optimizing the magnetic and fluidic circuit designs in relation to drift, coverage and efficacy of chemical usage. This work will involve an interplay of experiment and finite-element computer modelling. The very detailed scientific information derived through this study will provide MagGrow with the foundational theory to optimise existing products and develop the technology for other applications.

Prof. Michael Coey, AMBER and School of Physics, Trinity College, said: “Our collaboration with MagGrow has the potential to improve the delivery of pesticides and other agricultural sprays. The expertise in magnetism of our research team in AMBER and the School of Physics is internationally recognized and we have excellent research facilities which can benefit this engagement. I am looking forward to working with MagGrow on this project, which we expect to shed light on the physical basis of the effects of rare earth magnets on crop spraying, a technology that is vital for feeding the planet.”

“This strategic collaboration builds on the work of our Research and Development teams in Ireland and the UK and will help us gain more of an understanding of the science around our technology, optimise our existing product set and help us identify new areas of product development,” said Gary Wickham, Chief Executive Officer, MagGrow. “The research team at MagGrow, led by Professor Anthony Furness, is delighted to be working with Professor Mike Coey and his team at Trinity on this collaboration. These industry-leading experts will help accelerate the optimisation and development of MagGrow products that are helping to fix large global issues right now, namely a scarcity of water, the waste associated with poor application of pesticides and the environmental damage that can result from spray run-off and spray drift.”

MagGrow, an Irish company, was set up in 2013, employs over 25 people and currently operates across four different regions; the USA, Canada, South Africa and Europe. MagGrow is a patented, proprietary technology for droplet formation that yields superior drift reduction of over 70% and spray coverage performance of up to 40% compared to conventional spraying. MagGrow has many other benefits to drift reduction and coverage such as significant reduction in water usage by up to 50%, extended spray windows, and reductions in labour.

The MagGrow system has no moving parts, is easy to install and maintain, and can be fitted to a new or existing crop sprayer. There is an increasing demand on food & water, and MagGrow’s technology is supporting a more sustainable approach to primary food production. While prompted by competitive demands and the global challenge of meeting the needs for future food production, MagGrow’s primary focus is on meeting customer needs, and satisfaction based on results.

See more at: www.maggrow.com

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AMBER has a strong emphasis on collaboration. Central to AMBER’s research remit are collaborative projects performed with industry partners, and working with academic, industry and wider stakeholder on international and national research programmes.

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