Modelling and evaluation of productivity and economic feasibility of a combined production of tomato and algae in Dutch greenhouses

B. Slager, A. Sapounas, E.J. van Henten, S. Hemming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Combination of production of algae and tomato increases efficient use of available resources of greenhouse enterprises, such as controlled environment, water and nutrients, carbon dioxide, greenhouse space and infrastructure and knowledge. No information is available, however, about the potential productivity and related costs of a combined tomato and algae production in Dutch greenhouses. The objective was to determine the algae productivity in tubular photobioreactors (PBRs) and the economic feasibility of combined production of tomato and algae in Dutch greenhouses. A model was developed to predict greenhouse climate from outside climate, to predict tomato and algae biomass production and to analyse scenarios of different locations and dimensions of tubular PBR in the greenhouse with regard to algae productivity and cost price of algae production. The results show that algal productivity is low if PBRs are installed under a tomato crop due to limited light levels. Areal algal productivity was calculated to be 5–6.5 kg DM m-2 if PBRs are installed in a separate greenhouse compartment next to tomato. In this case the minimum cost prices of algae production was calculated to be €11 kg-1 DM algae, which give perspectives for the future. The proposed model is important because it gives insight into the feasibility of algae and tomato production in Dutch greenhouses. This novel model approach and the scenario results provide better knowledge about the potential productivity and related costs and returns of algae production in greenhouses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-162
JournalBiosystems Engineering
Volume122
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • tubular photobioreactors
  • porphyridium-cruentum
  • solar irradiance
  • light
  • culture
  • growth
  • temperature
  • management
  • scenario
  • nutrient

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