Growing food in a highly controlled manner has become increasingly interesting for industrial players over the past years. The development of vertical farms, multi-layered growing platforms with rows of plants has increased. With so many plants in a confined space, the need for accurate climate control is essential to ensure optimum growing conditions for the plants. Industrial partners, such as Colruyt are busy developing their own vertical farm, where they are growing herbs, such as basil and coriander using multi-layered horizontal stacks.
For this, they need to accurately know how the plant will interact with their local climate. Knowledge of basil and coriander production is already present within Colruyt Group, and they want to extend their library of plants with different herbs. Optimisation of the growing process in function of energetic parameters is the goal for this thesis. Accurate knowledge of the different energy fluxes in the vertical farm is therefore the final goal.
In coordination with Colruyt group, the direction of your thesis will be lined out. The goal for this thesis is to accurately map the energetic fluxes inside a plant factory, situated at the test facility of Colruyt in Halle. This can include the experimental gathering of relevant data inside the plant factory. These data can be transpiration rates, leaf area’s, relative humidities, temperature distributions, cooling power,… throughout the vertical farm. Using this data, an energy balance model is created in function of optimal plant growth.
If deemed necessary, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has to be used to simulate the air patterns inside the vertical farm.
This thesis aids in achieving sustainable development goals (SDG) 2 and 7:
By vertical farming food, food can be grown everywhere on the planet in a more sustainable way, limiting the resources needed for agriculture.