Our primary research is on Integrated Food-Energy Systems (IFES) characterized by nutrient recycling, biogas renewable energy, and greenhouse aquaponics.
The IFES team has just recently accepted an invitation to participate in the United Nation's Sustainable Energy for All initiative. We will partner with the FAO on a High Impact Opportunity to assess the sustainability of IFES.
Current laboratory experiments address the following questions:
- What is the productivity of micro-algae fertilized by fish culture effluent instead of inorganic nutrient media?
- To what extent can micro-algae substitue for fish meal and fish oil in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) diets?
Our collaboratory is also developing research on the following questions:
- What are the major biophysical and social interdependencies in an IFES and how do they affect mass and energy balances, cost-effectiveness, and harmful emissions?
- How do institutional arrangements between different participants influence the governance of an IFES?
- How do environmental, economic, and sociopolitical dynamics at different scales influence the wider adoption of IFES?
IFES diagram: Landfill methane destruction generates combined heat and power (CHP) that sells power to the grid and heats greenhouses. In the greenhouses, microalgae is cultivated in photo-bioreactors fertilized with carbon-dioxide from CHP flue gases and nitrogen and phosphorous from fish-rearing effluent. The fish are reared on a feed partly made of microalgae. Ultimately, the system produces year-round, nutritionally enhanced fish and vegetable products.
Sustainable aspects of this system include: Affordable renewable energy and year-round heat; Mitigation of landfill methane emissions; Conversion of carbon dioxide to microalga biomass; Avoidance of river pollution by recycling nitrogen and phosphorous rich fish effluent; Growth of microalgae strains that naturally synthesize omega-3 fatty acids, which can be absorbed by the fish and are essential to human health.
Integrated Aquaponics Demonstrations at the Dartmouth Organic Farm
Our exploratory aquaponics study maximized greenhouse production space by converting storage tanks for solar heated water to an integrated crop system with basil and lettuce grown on floating rafts and tilapia and several species of native fish raised in the algae rich water. The project gave undergraduate students a great hands-on opportunity to learn about experimental design, sampling procedures, and basic data analysis. Note before and after images above.
Micro-algae as an Alternative Fish-Feed Ingredient
Measuring the productivity of micro-algae (Scenedesmus obliquus) fertilized wtih fish culture effluent compared to BG11 nutrient media.
New micro-algae raceway cultivator nearly complete at Dartmouth College Organic farm. Cultivator will support research on alternative fish feeds for Nile Tilapia.
Last Updated on Monday, 01 April 2013 13:33