Mechanistic modeling of an aquaponic controlled-environment agriculture system: nutrient and water dynamics, harvest productivity, and waste treatment
Debrota, Kathleen H.
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Aquaponics, the symbiotic co-culturing of fish and vegetable crops, is a promising technology for both food production and waste mitigation. As part of an urban ecosystem, controlled-environment-agriculture (CEA) systems would serve as nutrient transformation hubs, generating food and removing nutrient pollutants from local organic waste and wastewater. A mechanistic model of the nutrient and water dynamics of this emerging system is proposed here, based on Monod kinetics and the International Water Association’s Activated Sludge Models (ASM). This model functions to dynamically predict the nutrient transformation and food production capacity of an aquaponics CEA, and allows the optimization of crop and fish species selection, planting and stocking densities, fish food composition, feeding rate, maximum harvest rates, and other important factors with important economic, policy, and design decision implications.