Benjamin Ergas, co-CEO of Zasso Group AG (and Executive Chairman of the Board) in an interview with LECTURA Press
30 October 2019
Equipment powered by Zasso’s disruptive technology proves that the future of weed management is electric and chemical free.
Chemical weed control not only pollutes our groundwater but also the plants that are in the vicinity of the area to be treated. Zasso is an innovative Swiss company specializing in non- chemical weed control solutions with advanced power electronics and has developed the Electroherb TM for this purpose. How does this system work?
Our Electroherb™ system can be considered a non-selective, systemic herbicide. The basic principal of the technology is the application of a lethal dose of electrical energy to plant tissues via electrodes that are in contact with the plants.
The high-voltage electricity is generated locally from the mechanical energy of the tractor. The electric current then passes via the electrode into the plants and then into the soil. The electric circuit is closed via a second electrode that either touches other plants or the soil, and the generated energy lets the plants wilt from the inside, right down into their roots.
The physical contact with high-voltage electrodes touching weed plants enables the electric current to operate only at the time of application without residues and without disturbing the grounds.
While mechanical methods have to resort to burying plants with soil or drying them off after uprooting, which leads to a stimulation of germination from new seeds, Electroherb treats the soil habitat with great care. The targeted energy directly affects the roots without unnecessarily heating up and damaging the surrounding ground and the environment on a large scale.
What is your general mission?
Zasso’s mission is to provide the safe, efficient and viable technologies necessary for a herbicide-free world. We aim to promote a real shift in weed management, a new paradigm which can completely and effectively change the way invasive plants are controlled. For us, such technology is not an end in itself, but the means to a more sustainable future. We are acting out of conviction that a disruptive innovation such as our Electroherb™ system can fundamentally transform the current herbicide market.
Which areas can be processed in agriculture?
This year, a first series the “XPOWER“systems have been applied for important agricultural crops. It can be used in burndown/field preparation operations prior to planting or in row crops during the season. It’s also used for harvest preparation in crops that have to be desiccated prior to harvest. Symptoms of weed death are visible immediately after the application.
XPOWER is required to use Electroherb TM. What are the components of XPOWER?
The XPOWER system can be mounted on most tractors. Electricity is produced by an alternator connected to the tractor’s PTO. A transformer, mounted on the rear of the tractor regulates the current. The applicator – which applies the voltage to the targeted plant – mounts on the front of the tractor. As Zasso continues its development, it will aim for more compact solutions. Already, in the wine segment, the solution is proposed in an integrated manner, all in the back, generator and applicator.
What can be said about the safety of the XPOWER ?
Zasso takes the issues of safety very seriously. A series of smart features alongside electronic and mechanical safety features have been adopted to allow safety in use. These features include smart start-up-check, emergency shut-down, optimized cooling system and high-voltage insulation.
What can visitors to this year`s Agritechnica enjoy at their booth C01 in Hall P11?
Zasso has partnered with CNHi to distribute its solution in Europe. CNHi has launched last year a strong new Precision Farming aftermarket brand called AGXTEND, which will take up residence in Stand C01. In this Stand, Zasso will present a cut out of its XPOWER front applicator to explain the Electroherb™ systemic mode of action to Agritechnica visitors. Actual XPOWER equipment will be exhibited both in the Case and in the New Holland Stands.
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Source: LECTURA Verlag GmbH; Petra Konheiser