Hollow fibre membrane-based liquid desiccant humidity control for controlled environment agriculture

Ryan M. Lefers, N.m. Srivatsa Bettahalli, Nina V. Fedoroff, Noreddine Ghaffour, Philip A. Davies, Suzana P. Nunes, Torove Leiknes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
234 Downloads (Pure)


Humidity control is an important factor affecting the overall sustainability, productivity, and energy efficiency of controlled environment agriculture. Liquid desiccants offer the potential for pinpoint control of humidity levels in controlled environments. In the present work, a dehumidification processes utilizing liquid desiccants pumped through the lumens of triple-bore PVDF hollow fibre membranes is implemented in a bench scale controlled environment agriculture system. Hydrophobic hollow fibre membranes were combined into an array and placed near the crops. Concentrated magnesium chloride liquid desiccant solution with a low vapour pressure was pumped through the hollow fibre lumens. The dehumidification permeance rate responded dynamically to the changing transpiration rate of the plants, as influenced by changes in environmental factors such as light, temperature, and vapour pressure. The dehumidification permeance rate increased from an average of 0.26–0.31 g m−2 h−1 Pa−1 as the velocity of the liquid desiccant through the hollow fibres increased from 0.023 to 0.081 m s−1. Humidity levels were targeted to be maintained within a range of 70–90% relative humidity at 23 °C. The membrane-based liquid desiccant system was demonstrated to successfully control humidity within a bench-scale controlled environment agricultural setup.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-57
JournalBiosystems Engineering
Early online date6 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Controlled environment agriculture
  • Dehumidification
  • Humidity control
  • Hydrophobic hollow fibre membrane
  • Liquid desiccant
  • Sustainable agriculture


Dive into the research topics of 'Hollow fibre membrane-based liquid desiccant humidity control for controlled environment agriculture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this