Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

New hot climate ventilation system for poultry and pigs

Poultry and pigs react differently to hot climate conditions than human beings. This is due to the fact that they cannot sweat. The consequence under a too hot climate condition is that they will start panting, reducing their feed intake and thereby their growth rate, and show abnormal behaviour, and risk dying due to heat stress.

To reduce the above problems, artificial cooling of the animals is necessary. This is usually done by evaporative cooling of the air and/or increasing air speed at animal level. Increasing air speed at animal level is usually done by means of a tunnel ventilation system. This means that the house is used as a “tube” where inlets are placed at one end and exhaust fans at the other end. The relationship between “tube air speed” and cooling effect is experience-based and without any feedback loop. This leads to a poor climate quality with the temperature experienced as either too cold or too.

Therefore, the idea of the project is to estimate the needed cooling effect by using a heat balance for the animals and applying it as a control base. This will include development of a new climate controller that uses temperature, humidity and air speed as control parameters. Furthermore, to create a high air speed at the animal zone, new mechanical ventilation components and algorithms need to be developed.

The hypothesis is that an integrated thermal index can be established to measure animals' experienced temperature by monitoring their body heat loss conditions, and that an integrated sensor (physically or virtually) can be developed and used for Hot Climate Ventilation (HCV) design and control.

An optimal production requires an optimal indoor climate. How the interaction between air temperature, air speed, humidity and surface temperature affects a small yellow chicken of 45 grams comparing to a white full grown chicken in 2kg, we simply do not know enough about that today.

When the solution subsequently integrated into the climate control systems, we will be able to create the optimum environment for the millions of animals around the world in the future, which is undoubtedly growing in too hot environment.

The main research activities includes: development of advanced control algorithms based on hot climate heat balance of the animals; development and design of new hot climate ventilation components; smart ventilation system configurations and development of an analytic tools to model indoor climate in hot climate areas.