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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Passive Solar Greenhouse Aquaponics

Passive Solar Greenhouse Aquaponics

A Passive Solar Greenhouse is a greenhouse specially designed to take in solar energy and use it to heat the house. There is no additional heating.


Aquaponics is a mix of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (water growing systems). Surprisingly I have found few sources online referring to the use of aquaponics in a passive solar greenhouse.

A key component of a passive solar greenhouse is a "water wall." This is a wall of water containers that absorbes heat durring the day and releases it durring the night. My biggest question is, can I replace a water wall with a solar water heater? 

A solar water heater envolves a long expanse of winding water tubes in a box that captures solar energy as heat (basically a passive solar greenhouse). As you see in my sketch above, instead of a water wall I have a coil of tubes or a solar water heater. Obviously this sketch is a brainstorm so don't be too harsh. Also, the right side is turned 90 degrees so you can see the right wall. Inside the heart is my wife. She wanted to be included.

I'm looking for anybody that has tried this. Success or failure? Before I invest thousands into this greenhouse I want to know if it will work. I can't find anyone online that has tried something like this. The closest thing is someone that used a similar design for a solar water heater for a shower with great success. However, this was with an extremely smaller greenhouse and there wasn't a lot of detail of winter performance.

Is it water wall or bust? Can I warm my fish water sufficiently for warm water fish? Can I grow year round with this design? Please comment.

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3 comments:

  1. I have really considered building this and will be in the near future. You cannot replace the water wall with your heaters as it acts a large thermal mass heat sink. Depending on your climate zone you may be able to replace some, but the way I see it, the better your temperatures do not fluctuate the more water you have.

    I plan to try and adapt the model to running hose underground to add a cooler for summer temps with a simple pump that I could kick on to circlate the water in the drums to disipate.

    Ya know...thinking about it... put black 50 gallon plastic/metal drums for thermal mass and adapt your heat collector for your water system to set against the front of your barrels and still allow some gap to pass light between...getting a hybid system. and still add a valve with a closed loop circulation system to switch the unit as a cooler during the summer and have the whole thing connected to your fish tanks to act as a warmer for the cooler months and as a cooler for the greenhouse and tanks for the warmer months.

    I would get a pump that would effectively move the water fast enough as it not to heat up before it made the tanks or it would not work. also, i would bury at least twice as much line underground.

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    1. I very much appreciate your thoughts and comments on the matter. My hope was that the water in a large aquaponics system would serve as sufficient thermal mass and that a coil type solar heating system would sufficiently transfer the thermal energy. I guess I should start by figuring out how much water would be in the system and see if it would be sufficient for the amount of glazing I plan on having. If it is, the only other question is can it absorb and release thermal energy well enough. I'm guessing it could. The bigger concern is how the fish and plants would be affected by the constant change in water temperature.

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    2. I have drawn a passive solar green house using 3x3x24 fish tank against north wall water is filtered by hydroponic gravel beds. The fish tank needs to be buried 2 feet down and insulated. 12 x 24 twin wall polycarbonate at 50'degree angle heats water in winter days water cools passing thru plant beds to maintain 72-75 temp would need to input about 200 dollars of propane via blue flame ventless heater (400.00 they last along time). Over growth in summer keeps water from getting to hot as well as gravel planting beds. The 3 foot high solid knee wall on south side needs to swing up providing shade ventilated air in summer along with eve fan

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