Date of Graduation

12-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MSChE)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Chemical Engineering

Advisor

Greg Thoma

Committee Member

Lauren Greenlee

Second Committee Member

Marty Matlock

Keywords

Food production, Greenhouse, Tomatoes, U.S.

Abstract

Growing population demand and challenges brought on by climate change have spurred the need for more resilient fruit and vegetable supply chains. One agricultural technology of significant interest is the use of greenhouses for food production. Greenhouses create a stable and adaptable environment for crops such as tomatoes to grow year-round. Fresh tomatoes are the second most consumed vegetable per capita in U.S. diets, currently averaging 20.7 pounds. The growing consumption of fresh tomatoes has been the result of increasing cultural diversity in the United States.

To meet the growing demand, Venlo-type greenhouses have been frequently used by growers. It provides an economical solution to produce multiple crops in various climate environments while withstanding severe weather conditions. While there have been many studies and advancements in using greenhouse technology to grow tomatoes in Europe, production has yet to be analyzed in the U.S. This study seeks to fill the gap of greenhouse tomato production by simulating growing scenarios using the openly accessible Modelica Greenhouse Library in 10 select locations across the mainland USA.

Two growing scenarios were explored, a base case without CO2 enrichment and a CO2+ case with a continuous flow of CO2 being externally supplied to the system. All simulations had yields above 3-8 kg/m2/yr, which is expected of field-grown tomatoes. However, a few locations were below the expected range of 50-80 kg/m2/yr yield for greenhouse-grown tomatoes. CO2 enrichment in most cases resulted in increased fresh weight yield, reduced the use of resources which improved Product Water Use (PWU), Electrical and Thermal Energy Efficiency. Factors influencing the model such as Temperature, Supplemental Lighting, and CO2 enrichment were discussed.

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