Numerical evaluation of an air distribution system in a generic multi-layer vertical farm: impact of air supply location
The uniformity of the environmental conditions in a vertical farm can be poor due to multi-layer cultivation shelves, crop resistance to airflow, and excessive heat generated by artificial lighting. An appropriate design of the air distribution system is important for crop productivity in vertical farming. This study investigates the impact of the vertical location of the air supply on environmental conditions in a generic multi-layer vertical farm using a validated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling approach. The performance of the air distribution system from three different air supply locations, i.e., supply of air near the crop region, between the crop and the light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, and near the LED lamps, are evaluated. The simulation results demonstrate that relatively high mean air speeds are obtained by supplying air between crop and LED lamps. Although heat removal is efficient by supplying cool air near the lamps, due to the long distance to the crop region, the efficiency of moisture removal decreases by 28 to 43% compared to the other two vertical air supply locations. In addition, the supply of air near the lamps results in highly non-uniform distributions of air temperature and water vapor content in most crop regions. Considering the optimal environmental conditions for crops and the overall performance of the air distribution system, it is recommended that the vertical air supply location is set between the crop region and the LED lamp in this particular case.
Kang, Luyang and van Hooff, T. (2023). Numerical evaluation of an air distribution system in a generic multi-layer vertical farm: impact of air supply location. Acta Hortic. 1369, 57-64
air distribution, CFD simulation, vertical farm, environmental conditions, air supply location