29281 Investigating the thermal performance of pig stables
Richtingen: Master of Science in Electromechanical Engineering


European agriculture still relies heavily on fossil energy inputs in farm operations and buildings, and indirectly also in inputs (feed, fertilization), materials and transport. Pig farming is a part of agriculture that also embeds direct and indirect fossil energy use.

Looking at the direct usage of energy in a pig farm, the majority goes to heating of the different compartments and this is currently often done with gas or fuel based systems. Different ages of pigs (housed in different compartment often within the same pig farm) have different thermal needs resulting in heating systems combining aspects like heating of incoming air (in combination with the ventilation system), floor heating in specific parts and heat lamps for the newly born piglets.

Converting existing buildings and starting up new buildings with renewable energy sources will help to lead to a ‘greener’ energy usage and reduced climate impact. This thesis will made in cooperation with ILVO (Flanders research institute for agriculture, fisheries and food).


The main objective is to make a building energy model of a pig stable (including the different rearing zones) in the modelling and simulation tool Dymola. The layout and configuration at the ‘Varkenscampus’ will be used as a starting point. The student can make use of existing building simulation libraries. The cooling and heating load needs to be evaluated on experimental data from the ‘Varkenscampus’.

In a second step, the model will be used to simulate different scenario’s to assess the thermal energy needs of the current building stock and to evaluate the potential efficiency gain when retrofitting or constructing new stables. This research should be placed into perspective with past findings in literature, which is at the moment very scarce, hence the importance of this research.