Tunnel temperature control and thermal modelling, with experimental support with generic control and sensing devices.

Grow tunnels (or high tunnels) are used in agricultural research to extend growing seasons or to emulate optimal conditions for experiments. At Stellenbosch University, the Departments of Forestry and Agronomy of the Agriscience Department are using such tunnels for their experimental trials. However, these tunnels are not equipped to measure the internal conditions nor are they able to control temperature conditioning apparatuses such as fans and wet walls.

This project aims to transform these tunnels into smart, autonomous systems. Firstly, generic sensing and control devices called “hats” will be created to support researchers in sensing and controlling their tunnels. These hats, however, will not be limited to agriculture and will extend to any situation where sensing and control is needed. Secondly, using these hats, thermal models of the two tunnels at Agronomy and Forestry will be made using these hats. These thermal models will create a predictive model that will allow researchers to use outside weather data to better predict the potential conditions of the internals of the tunnel.

Read more about Keegan’s work oLinkedIn.