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Autonomous real-time adaptive management of soil salinity using a receding horizon control algorithm: A pilot-scale demonstration

Park, Yeonjeong, Harmon, Thomas C.
Journal of environmental management 2011 v.92 no.10 pp. 2619-2627
adverse effects, algorithms, environmental factors, equations, field experimentation, irrigation rates, irrigation scheduling, irrigation water, prediction, salts, simulation models, soil depth, soil salinity, soil salinization, solutes, water reuse
Soil salinization is a potentially negative side effect of irrigation with reclaimed water. While optimization schemes have been applied to soil salinity control, these have typically failed to take advantage of real-time sensor feedback. This study incorporates current soil observation technologies into the optimal feedback-control scheme known as Receding Horizon Control (RHC) to enable successful autonomous control of soil salinization. RHC uses real-time sensor measurements, physically-based state prediction models, and optimization algorithms to drive field conditions to a desired environmental state by manipulating application rate or irrigation duration/frequency. A simulation model including the Richards equation coupled to energy and solute transport equations is employed as a state estimator. Vertical multi-sensor arrays installed in the soil provide initial conditions and continuous feedback to the control scheme. An optimization algorithm determines the optimal irrigation rate or frequency subject to imposed constraints protective of soil salinization. A small-scale field test demonstrates that the RHC scheme is capable of autonomously maintaining specified salt levels at a prescribed soil depth. This finding suggests that, given an adequately structured and trained simulation model, sensor networks, and optimization algorithms can be integrated using RHC to autonomously achieve water reuse and agricultural objectives while managing soil salinization.