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8.6 Economic Impact

5 months ago

1 min read

Technologies that generate less profit, but are better for the environment usually only get implemented when the operators either receive an incentive in the form of subsidies or policies force them to do so. In the case of one-loop aquaponics systems, the appeal lies in the novel technology and the system's approach to sustainable resource use rather than its economic potential. However, recent publications provide evidence for production gains: leafy greens grow better in decoupled environments than in sterile hydroponic systems (Delaide et al. 2016; Goddek and Vermeulen 2018) and lettuce in decoupled aquaponics systems had a growth advantage of approximately 40% compared to state-of-the-art hydroponic approaches.

Even though higher growth rates can be expected, multi-loop aquaponics systems are still far more complex than hydroponics systems and significant initial investments are required for implementation. Most geographic locations require a hightech greenhouse to control environmental conditions (i.e. a relative humidity of 80%, constant temperatures of around 20C). Renewable energy sources can be used for cooling and heating, but currently such systems are only profitable when setting up on a large scale (i.e. > 1 ha) where good market conditions prevail.