Nutrients and energy balance analysis for a conceptual model of a three loops off grid, aquaponics

Uri Yogev, Adrian Barnes, Amit Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Food security, specifically in water scarce regions, is an increasing local and global challenge. Finding new ways to increase agricultural production in a sustainable manner is required. The current study suggests a conceptual model to integrate established recirculating aquaculture practices into a near-zero discharge aquaponic system that efficiently utilizes water, excreted nutrients and organic matter for energy. The suggested model allows to significantly extend the planted area and recover energy in the form of biogas to operate the system off-grid. A mass balance model of nitrogen, carbon and energy was established and solved, based on data from the literature. Results demonstrate that a fish standing stock of about 700 kg would produce 3.4 tons of fish annually and enough nutrients to grow about 35 tons of tomatoes per year (chosen as a model plant) and recover sufficient energy (70 kWh/day) to run the system on biogas and use less water. If proven successful, this approach may play a major role in sustainably enhancing food security in rural and water scarce regions.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number589
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Aquaponics
  • Biogas
  • Energy balance
  • Nutrient mass balance

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Biochemistry


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