Promoting circular economy: Comparison of novel coupled aquaponics with anaerobic digestion and conventional aquaponic systems on nutrient dynamics and sustainability

Ze Zhu, Uri Yogev, Karel J. Keesman, Amit Gross*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Aquaponics presents promising green technology for food security and climate change. This study investigated the performance and nutrient dynamics in a novel aquaponics with onsite anaerobic treatment compared with conventional decoupled and coupled aquaponics. All systems demonstrated good performance with fish survival rates of >97 %, feed conversion ratios of 1.3, and high lettuce production of 6.9–11.8 kg/kg-feed. The recovery of N and P (from their concentrations in the feed) was 21 % and 16 % respectively in the decoupled aquaponics, and 24 % and 18 % in the coupled aquaponics. Recovery of N and P in the novel aquaponics was 41 % and 36 %, respectively, which led to enhanced total nutrient utilization efficiency of 76 % N and 80 % P. The latter was due to the high recovery of N and P from the fish sludge. The novel system also demonstrated 1.6× higher plant areal productivity, 2.1× lower water usage, and 16 % less energy consumption per kg of feed relative to the other tested (conventional) systems. It was postulated that coupled aquaponics with anaerobic digestion is a sustainable solution that may promote a circular economy, especially in arid zones with high radiation and temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107716
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume208
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2024

Keywords

  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Aquaponics
  • Circular economy
  • Nutrient dynamics
  • Resource recovery
  • Sustainable food system

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