Semi-Autonomous Follow-me Biomass Baler

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2018-33610-28234
Agency Tracking Number: 2018-00245
Amount: $94,172.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.13
Solicitation Number: N/A
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-06-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-05-14
Small Business Information
4302 13TH AVE S, Fargo, ND, 58103-3395
DUNS: 032126876
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kraig Schulz
 CEO
 (203) 993-0828
 kraig@atcspirit.com
Business Contact
 Kraig Schulz
Title: CEO
Phone: (203) 993-0828
Email: kraig@atcspirit.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
This project addresses USDA-NIFA's research priorities regarding crop management systems that promote energy conservation and efficiency, including the use of alternative and renewable energy resources. This proposal outlines a plan to prove the research concept of a Single-pass Autonomous Follow-me (SAF) Baler. The SAF baler is intended to bale the available supply of corn stover during corn harvest by following the combine autonomously while allowing for a sufficient amount of stover to be reserved in the field for appropriate soil management practices.The single-pass baler is independently-powered and follows the combine without being physically attached. This baling method can reduce stover ash content and labor and equipment costs. The SAF Baler helps resolve issues with current baling practices: high stover ash content and operating costs associated with multi-pass methods; stress on the combine, slower operations and restricted combine maneuverability associated with single-pass operations wherein the baler is physically attached to and powered by the combine.This technology could contribute to the steady growth of the bioeconomy by reducing feedstock costs and improving the biomass quality for downstream biorefineries. The full development of a corn stover bioeconomy can unlock $2.1 billion dollars of additional income for American farmers.The proposal includes a complete 3D CAD model for a SAF Baler with engineering simulations to estimate stability, strength, power and cost characteristics. Safe, follow-me operations will be tested with a physical robot under varying conditions to prove the feasibility of autonomous follow-me operations. A cost-benefit analysis is included in the project's deliverables.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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