2017 ~ Present| Section - VVJ

Sustainable Aquaponic Systems

GOALS: To collaborate with Atlanta's military veterans to build sustainable food systems by effectively recycling the nutrients in food waste through algae to fuel aquaponic systems and cure food deserts in Atlanta.

METHODS & TECHNOLOGIES: Aquaponics, Algal photobioreactors, Zooplankton bioreactors, Membrane Filtration, Photovoltaics, Solar Water Heating, Rainwater Capture, Anaerobic Digestion, Vertical Growing Techniques, and Duckweed Production.

RESEARCH/DESIGN ISSUES: To make for efficient food-energy-water systems in urban areas, water and nutrients need to be effectively recycled in as many closed loops as possible to reduce outside inputs of materials and energy.  Our project is making aquaponics near netzero in energy, water and materials by using photovoltaics, solar water heating, rainwater capture and algal/zooplankton meal (for the fish feed) fertilized with food waste.  Our research questions include how to most effectively grow algae (and tilapia) high in omega-3 fatty acid content using waste nutrients and how to reduce capital and operating costs of aquaponic systems while maximizing areal productivity.

MEETING TIME: Fri, 1:55-2:45

ADVISORS:  Steven W. Van Ginkel (CEE), Yongsheng Chen (CEE)

PARTNERS & SPONSORS: Veterans Rising Above Poverty Farms, City of Atlanta, Atlanta Public Schools, Dekalb County Schools, Cobb County Schools


CEE – Background/interest in energy and nutrient recovery from wastewater.

Biol, Microbiol - Background/interest in algae, duckweed and zooplankton production to provide fish feed to aquaponic systems and vegetable production

ME – Background/Interest photovoltaics and heat transfer

BA, MGMT – Background/interest in intellectual property, marketing, commercialization.

Arch., CRP, PP – Background/interest in urban farming systems to cure food deserts.

EE – Background/interest in sensing, robotics and automation.



CONTACT: Yongsheng Chen (yongsheng.chen@ce.gatech.edu ); Steven Van Ginkel (steppen@gatech.edu)