For some years Repsol Butano, the most important oil and gas company in Spain, through its Centre for Technology, has been working on new applications in the field of agriculture always in keeping with its commitment to innovation, efficiency and environmental friendliness. The lines of work undertaken have been to look for future alternatives to the traditionally used methods in agriculture that can produce the highest quality products, in a competitive and sustainable way and at the same time improve our quality of life.
To learn first-hand the commercial viability of these systems Repsol Butano has been developing for over a year, field trials in different wine and agricultural regions of Spain. On this occasion the Casar de Burbia winery has entered into a collaboration agreement with Repsol Butano and will the first agricultural business in the province where some of these new systems will be tested, in particular The Treatment System for Undergrowth and Thermal Leave removal. Recently Repsol technicians and the manufacturer of the equipment have visited the winery and vineyards of Casar de Burbia to provide field training for staff and begin the first tests which will be conducted on the Valdepiñeiro and Valdaiga estates (Valtuille de Arriba, Leon).
These types of environmentally friendly systems began their development as alternatives to the changes in environmental law from the European Union and the ever-increasing demand for developments in organic farming and subsequently organic wines.
The first system to be tested will be: weed control by heat treatment, this consists of applying heat to the weeds growing in the vineyard so that the intensity of the heat and exposure time cause a dramatic expansion of the liquid in plant cells and therefore rupture the walls without the vegetable matter reaching the combustion stage. In this way the plant dehydrates and dies. The thermal energy can be obtained through the application of a flame or by hot air produced by LPG, the system tested in the vineyards of the winery is the application of a direct flame; the most effective for these crops. The objective of the treatments put forward in these tests is to combat weeds growing between the vine rows and those which grow between the plants themselves.
The equipment, which has begun to be used in some of the vineyards of Casar de Burbia, has been developed by Repsol Butano, and produced by Industrias David (important company in the sector, located in the region of Murcia). Monitoring the system will allow data to be collected to assess the effectiveness and profitability of these alternatives as opposed to the conventional systems commonly used in agriculture. Noteworthy is the fact that this type of system does not mean any deterioration in the soil and decreases the CO2 emissions threefold.