Predict, create, control, and maintain optimum living conditions for fish and plants of an indoor aquaponics system
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Access to clean water and food are the basic needs for everyone. The growth of population, changes in lifestyles, and pollution of resources have made access to these basic needs more difficult. To support the growing need for food the agriculture should be increased. Agriculture is one of the biggest consumers of fresh water and habitable land. Water and soil quality also deteriorates in many regions around the globe due to the growth of pollution activities like over-exploiting of soil, fertilizer and pesticides runoff, and other contaminants.
To solve this crisis indoor vertical farming methods such as aquaponics, hydroponics, aeroponics, are well-proven solutions, which can create a more sustainable and efficient way to produce food. Aquaponics is a combination of farming fish and growing plants in a recirculating water media. Although the aquaponic system comes with a lot of advantages, the commercial success for the aquaponic system is not simple. The major challenge of the aquaponic system is the initial investment and the operation cost. The operation is labor-intensive and requires an expert operator.
This research used computational fluid dynamics simulation software to predict the ambient conditions like the temperature of the indoor aquaponics system. With the known temperature the design and selection of different components like water and air cooler, heater, and other necessities became more accurate and reliable.
Aquaponics design and operation can be improved by eliminating possible errors with an established method like Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA). FMEA can be used at various steps in a design process to identify issues that can affect the reliability of the process. Identifying weaknesses in the process design of aquaponics systems can allow engineering controls to be implemented long before the process is operational.
To operate an aquaponic system smoothly it is needed to monitor and control a lot of parameters. Plants and fish in the system have a different range and a desirable point for each of these parameters including temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, ammonia, etc. To operate an aquaponics control system the optimum range of each parameter for the plants and fish was identified, measured, and adjusted. This research is focused on the implementation of microcontroller-based automation and digital twin are utilized to predict and the system with less error and greater reliability.
To implement the developed control system one complete aquaponic system was built from design to operation. Microcontroller-based smart automation and monitoring system was deployed for the smooth operation of the system. The system ran and monitored for a long period with living fish to demonstrate the accuracy and consistency of the system. This research revealed the impacts of different factors for simulation, design, build, automate, and operations of the successful aquaponics system. The successful operation of the complete system verified the simulation and design, which will help future research with the larger-scale commercial operation of an aquaponics system.
CitationAkanda, M. H. (2021). Predict, create, control, and maintain optimum living conditions for fish and plants of an indoor aquaponics system (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.