Navitas and Virtual Forest advance net-zero in agriculture

18th April 2024
Sheryl Miles

Navitas Semiconductor, the pure-play, next-generation power semiconductor company and industry specialist in GaN power ICs and SiC technology, has announced that Virtual Forest, one of India’s leading electronics design companies specialising in motor control and human interface technologies for consumer appliances, fluid movement, and mobility, has adopted its GaNFast power integrated circuits (IC) technology for a zero-emission, powerful 3hp (2,250W) solar-powered irrigation pump.

For many farmers worldwide, irrigating remote crops requires powerful pumps to lift water from rivers and streams up to field-level, with the majority powered by polluting and noisy diesel generators or expensive, lossy long-distance electrical cables. The Virtual Forest solar pump with maximum power point tracking (MPPT) operates in conjunction with solar panel and energy storage to provide robust, energy-independent and pollution-free performance at the point of use. The 3hp (2,250W) pump is remotely accessed via quad-band IoT with low power consumption. It can raise over 50 gallons-per-minute of water to a height of over 90 feet, enough to water three acres of farmland, and help to produce 10 tonnes of wheat. Further, the IoT enabled solar pump ensures optimal water usage through intelligent analytics, therefore minimising ground water utilisation.

Navitas GaNSense half-bridge power ICs monolithically by integrating two GaN power FETs with GaN drivers, level-shifters, protection features, and high-efficiency loss-less current sensing. High-efficiency NV6269 half-bridge ICs, in easy-to-use 8 x 10mm QFN packages are used in a three-phase motor inverter, with 3x–5x energy savings vs legacy silicon IGBTs.

"The $450 million solar-pump market in India is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2026, calling for a solar revolution on Indian fields,” said Virtual Forest’s CEO, Omer Basith, adding “Reliable, off-grid systems are critical to overcome food insecurity and achieve energy efficiency. Leveraging Navitas’ high-power, efficient GaNSense half-bridge, we seek to deliver a robust solution to the market. We are nurturing our dream to drive gigatons of reduction in carbon emissions, thereby making the world a greener place to live in. Hence, our name – Virtual Forest.”

“The design team at Virtual Forest adopted the GaNSense half-bridges very quickly, for a fast time-to-market,” said Alessandro Squeri, Navitas’ Senior Sales Director. “With GaNSense, easy-to-use feature, Virtual Forest comes into the partnership with high efficiency, low component count, and a robust design for tough environments.”

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