A qualitative systems approach to controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is presented by means of several multi-institutional projects integrated into a demonstration greenhouse at the Burlington County Resource Recovery Complex (BCRRC), N.J. The greenhouse has about 0.4 ha of production space, and is located about 800 m from the about 40-ha BCRRC landfill site. A portion of the landfill gas produced from the BCRRC site is used for microturbine electricity generation and for heating the greenhouse. The waste heat from the turbines, which are roughly 15 m from the greenhouse, is used as the main heat source for the greenhouse in the winter months, and to desalinate water when heating is not required. Recovery of this waste heat increases the energy efficiency of the four 30-kW turbines from about 25% to 75%. Within the greenhouse, aquaculture and hydroponic crop production are coupled by recycling the aquaculture effluent as a nutrient source for the plants. Both the sludge resulting from the filtered effluent and the inedible biomass from harvested plants are vermicomposted (i.e., rather than being sent to the landfill), resulting in marketable products such as soil amendments and liquid plant fertilizer. If suitably cleaned of contaminants, the CO2 from the landfill gas may be used to enrich the plant growing area within the greenhouse to increase the yield of the edible products. Landfill gas from the BCRRC site has successfully been processed to recover liquid commercial grade CO2 and contaminant-free methane-CO2, with the potential for this gas mixture to be applied as a feedstock for fuel cells or for methanol production. Carbon dioxide from the turbine exhaust may also be recovered for greenhouse enrichment. Alternatively, algal culture may be used to assimilate CO2 from the turbine exhaust into biomass, which may then be used as a biofuel, or possibly as fish feed, thus making the system more self-contained. By recycling energy and materials, the system described would displace fossil fuel use, mitigating negative environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions, and generate less waste in need of disposal. Successful implementation of the coupled landfill (gas-to-energy · aquaponic · desalination) system would particularly benefit developing regions, such as those of the Greater Caribbean Basin.
One of the deterrents to the commercial adoption of controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) on a broad scale is the significant energy cost for lighting and thermal environmental control. Advances in energy conversion technologies, such as internal combustion engines (ICs), microturbines and fuel cells, offer the potential for combined heat and power (CHP) systems, which can be matched with the needs of CEA to reduce fossil-based fuels consumption. A principal concept delineated is that an integrated entrepreneurial approach to create business and community partnerships can enhance the value of energy produced (both electrical and heat). Energy production data from a commercial dairy farm is contrasted with energy use data from two greenhouse operations with varying energy-input requirements. Biogass produced from a 500-cow dairy combined with a 250-kW fuel cell could meet nearly all of the energy needs of both the dairy and an energy-intensive 740-m2 CEA greenhouse lettuce facility. The data suggest CEA greenhouses and other closely compatible enterprises can be developed to significantly alter agriculture, as we have known it.
With the primary objective of assuring food safety at the production level, a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) plan was developed and implemented in an 8000-ft2 greenhouse producing 1000 heads of lettuce per day in Ithaca, N.Y. The plan was developed following the HACCP principles and application guidelines published by the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (1997). The CEA glass greenhouse uses both artificial high-pressure sodium lamps and a shade curtain for light control. Temperature is controlled via evaporative cooling and water heating. Lettuce plants are grown in a hydroponic pond system and are harvested on day 35 from day of seeding. Known and reasonable risks from chemical, physical, and microbiological hazards were defined during the hazard analysis phase. Critical control points were identified in the maintenance of the pond water, the operation of evaporative coolers, shade curtains, and during harvesting and storage. Appropriate prerequisite programs were implemented before the HACCP plan as a baseline for achieving minimum working conditions. Proper critical limits for some potential hazards were established and monitoring programs set up to control them. Postharvest handling was setup in an adjacent head house that was adapted as a food manufacturing facility according to New York State Dept. of Agriculture and Markets standards. Potential applications will be discussed.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have tremendous potential as supplemental or sole-source lighting systems for crop production both on and off earth. Their small size, durability, long operating lifetime, wavelength specificity, relatively cool emitting surfaces, and linear photon output with electrical input current make these solid-state light sources ideal for use in plant lighting designs. Because the output waveband of LEDs (single color, nonphosphor-coated) is much narrower than that of traditional sources of electric lighting used for plant growth, one challenge in designing an optimum plant lighting system is to determine wavelengths essential for specific crops. Work at NASA's Kennedy Space Center has focused on the proportion of blue light required for normal plant growth as well as the optimum wavelength of red and the red/far-red ratio. The addition of green wavelengths for improved plant growth as well as for visual monitoring of plant status has been addressed. Like with other light sources, spectral quality of LEDs can have dramatic effects on crop anatomy and morphology as well as nutrient uptake and pathogen development. Work at Purdue University has focused on geometry of light delivery to improve energy use efficiency of a crop lighting system. Additionally, foliar intumescence developing in the absence of ultraviolet light or other less understood stimuli could become a serious limitation for some crops lighted solely by narrow-band LEDs. Ways to prevent this condition are being investigated. Potential LED benefits to the controlled environment agriculture industry are numerous and more work needs to be done to position horticulture at the forefront of this promising technology.
their outcomes. The possibilities of regulating plant attributes with light are staggering and although much is known it has only just begun. The question often arises on how LED technology will shape controlled environment agriculture in the future. The
Hydroponics is a common method of growing crops in controlled environment agriculture systems ( Jensen, 1999 ). Leafy greens like lettuce are a popular choice for hydroponic production ( Curran, 2018 ). Lettuce can potentially fetch a higher price
microenvironment. The plants were cultivated in a greenhouse at the Controlled Environment Agricultural Center, University of Arizona ( Table 2 ). Temperature and relative humidity measures for each trial represent means derived from eight individual stations
LED technology is fundamentally altering the use and application of supplemental lighting for controlled environment agriculture. This paper provides a brief overview of the rapid development of LED lighting and some thoughts on the future
extended to Controlled Environment Agriculture Program and EuroFresh Farms for the technical and financial support.
The term controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) was first introduced in the 1960s and refers to an intensive approach for controlling plant growth and development by capitalizing on advanced horticultural techniques and innovations in technology