Life cycle assessment of a micro aquaponic system
Five members of the EU Aquaponics Hub – Carmelo Maucieri, Andrea Forchino, Carlo Nicoletto, Maurizio Borin and Ranka Junge – have collaborated in an experiment to evaluate the environmental impacts of a micro aquaponic system (1.5 m²) built for education purposes using recovered materials, and to verify whether the micro aquaponic system is representative of full-scale aquaponic systems (>50m²) in terms of water quality and consumption. Micro aquaponic systems allow students of different levels to understand in a practical and concrete way some of the major natural cycles and the relationships between different sub-systems. In line with other life cycle assessments of aquaponics systems, energy consumption was found to have the highest environmental impact, so future research should focus on reducing energy inputs in order to increase the sustainability of the aquaponic technology.
A pre-publication version of the paper in the Journal of Cleaner Production can be found here.