Feb 24 2011
Scientists in Denmark have developed wireless sensors to detect heat and decay in silage. Tiny cost-effective red balls that have built in temperature sensors can tell if a silage heap is airtight or not.
A research team led by Ole Green, at the Department of Biosystems Engineering, has designed a sensor that will detect the temperature within a heap of biomass that can help farmers save money. The wireless sensing device within the balls determines the temperature in a heap of biomass without having to open the seal of the silage heap. The balls are placed in the heap as it is being built so that it does not damage it. It transmits data on the level of oxygen and temperature to a central computing monitor. This process prevents rotting. The sensor was patented in 2006 and tests have shown that the encasing of the ball also does not get damaged.
Tests carried out revealed that unwanted decay in silage can be recorded shortly after decay begins. It also showed that decay is related to the oxygen level in the biomass.