M.Sc. Project: Techno-economic and prospective life cycle assessment of geothermal heating and cooling solutions for poultry houses (funded, $25,000 annually for 2 years)
UBC PRISM Lab
CAD 9,131 / per year *
Earliest start date
* International student fee
Inputs to poultry housing, including both infrastructure and operating energy, may account for as much as 50% of the total non-renewable energy (non-RE) use and up to 20%–35% of some of the life cycle impacts of poultry production. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems comprise the largest share of direct energy inputs to intensive, confined egg production systems. Identifying and implementing optimal HVAC solutions for confined poultry production (taking into account both the characteristics of confined production and the physiological requirements of poultry) hence represents an important sustainability intervention point for the industry.
The heating and cooling of poultry housing are currently predominantly based on non-renewable thermal energy sources and electricity (which may be generated from both renewable and non-RE sources). A variety of passive (i.e. earth tubes) and active (i.e ground sourced heat pumps) geothermal HVAC system components have been developed for commercial and residential applications, but their feasibility and efficacy in the context of confined egg production remain largely unexplored. This MSc research project will:
- Undertake a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature and industry technical data and reports in order to identify a priority subset of potential geothermal HVAC solutions to be considered for confined poultry production based on criteria addressing technological maturity, affordability, ease of implementation, and potential efficacy;
- Develop and evaluate detailed prospective techno-economic and life cycle inventory and assessment models using technical data and energy simulation software to estimate the potential sustainability costs and benefits of these solutions; and
- Advance recommendations for pilot trials of key candidate technologies, including identification of one or more egg farm collaborators in Canada with whom to co-author a funding support application to the AAFC Agricultural Clean Technology program.