Using CFD to improve flow conditions in vertical farms using realistic plant geometries

W. Plas, M. De Paepe
Ensuring optimal climate conditions in vertical farms is essential, as these farms generally operate in more confined conditions than in classical greenhouses. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has been used in the past to visualize flow fields in greenhouse type geometries. These CFD models represent the plant as porous blocks, wherein momentum, water vapor and energy source terms are added to mimic the behavior of the plant. Vertical farms operate in a much more confined environment, and representing the plants as porous blocks can simplify the flow field too much. Therefore, in this study a realistic plant geometry is used in a realistic vertical farming environment to study the flow over these plants. A basil like plant structure is used to model the plant. Two systems are compared, a sideway ventilated vertical farm with nozzles, and a top ventilated vertical farming system with nozzles. Plant transpiration and energy exchange is implemented by setting the appropriate water vapor and temperature boundary conditions on the sides of the leaves. By using a realistic plant geometry, water vapor fluxes and energy fluxes can be directly calculated for every leaf. Both cases are compared by looking at the water vapor and heat transfer coefficients. Additionally, the average velocities around the leaves of the plant can be calculated as well, and these show that the top ventilated plants have a higher percentage of velocity within a certain range compared to the sideway ventilated configuration.
Plas, W. and De Paepe, M. (2023). Using CFD to improve flow conditions in vertical farms using realistic plant geometries. Acta Hortic. 1369, 49-56
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1369.6
basil, CFD, vertical farming, ventilation system

Acta Horticulturae