Temperature gradients in a partially shaded large greenhouse equipped with evaporative cooling pads
The main drawback of greenhouse evaporative cooling systems based on cooling pads and extracting fans is the thermal gradient developed along the direction of the airflow. High-temperature gradients of this type can markedly affect plant growth, and growers often combine cooling pads with shading. To predict the temperature gradients along a greenhouse, a simple climate model is proposed which incorporates the effect of ventilation rate, roof shading and crop transpiration. In order to calibrate the proposed model, measurements were performed in a commercial greenhouse equipped with fans and pads and shaded in the second half. Experimental data show that the cooling system was able to keep the greenhouse air temperature at rather low levels. However, due to the significant length of the greenhouse (60 m), large temperature gradients, (up to 8degreesC) were observed from pads to fans. The model was calibrated by fitting temperatures in the middle and at the end of the greenhouse. The model was validated on experimental data different from those used for the calibration and then it was used to study: (i) the influence of different ventilation rates combined with shading on air temperature profiles along the greenhouse length; and (ii) the influence of the outside air temperature and humidity on the performance of the cooling system. High ventilation rates and shading contribute to reduce thermal gradients. Despite its simplicity, the model is sufficiently accurate to improve the design and the management of the cooling pad systems. (C) 2003 Silsoe Research Institute. All rights reserved. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.