Method of pump, pipe, and tank selection for aeroponic nutrient management systems based on crop requirements


  • Milon Chowdhury Department of Agricultural Machinery Engineering, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Republic of Korea; Department of Smart Agriculture Systems, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea, Republic of.
  • Md. Shaha Nur Kabir Department of Agricultural and Industrial Engineering, Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University, Dinajpur, Bangladesh.
  • Hyeon-Tae Kim Department of Biosystems Machinery Engineering, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Korea, Republic of.
  • Sun-Ok Chung | Department of Agricultural Machinery Engineering, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Republic of Korea; Department of Smart Agriculture Systems, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea, Republic of.


The system-specific selection of aeroponic nutrient system components, specifically pumps, pipes, and tanks, is very important to improve system efficiency and minimize costs, as these components vary for different systems with different crop water requirements and design specifications. In this study, methods were suggested for determining the most suitable sizes of pumps, pipes, and tanks based on the plant water consumption and irrigation interval targeted to improve the usual procedures to design an aeroponic nutrient management system, and applied to a case. Factors affecting the size calculation are discussed, and calculation methods were suggested based on basic hydraulic principles. A recycle-type aeroponic nutrient management system, cultivating 500 plants in 21 plant beds, was considered for a case study. Application of the size calculation methods in the case study showed that an irrigation pump with a 37 Lmin–1 flow rate at 900 kPa capacity and nutrient pumps with a 5 Lmin–1 flow rate at 40 kPa capacity with 19-mmdiameter pipes were required to deliver the mixed nutrients and supply stock solutions into the mixing tank, along with nutrient mixing, stock nutrients, and distilled water tanks of 750, 40, and 685 L, respectively. Calculation was demonstrated to show the variations in the sizing of the pumps, pipes, and tanks by number of plants. Validation tests were performed for the selected irrigation pump capacity, and the results showed that the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient (NSE), coefficient of determination (R2), and root-mean-square error (RMSE) values were 0.410, 0.98, 0.109 Lmin–1 and 0.775, 0.99, 34.91 kPa for flow rate and pressure, respectively. The case study also showed that these sizing procedures increased the plant bed coverage efficiency of the irrigation pump by 33%, while increasing the nutrient mixing tank size by 133%. This study would provide useful information on the efficient sizing of pumps, pipes, and tanks for minimizing costs and maximizing crop production in aeroponic nutrient management systems.



PlumX Metrics


Download data is not yet available.


Amalfitano C., Del Vacchio L., Somma S., Cuciniello, A., Caruso, G. 2017. Effects of cultural cycle and nutrient solution electrical conductivity on plant growth, yield and fruit quality of “Friariello†pepper grown in hydroponics. Horticu Sci 44(2): 91–98. DOI:

ASABE, 1999. Spray nozzle classification by droplet spectra. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, USA.

Bankston J.D., Baker F.E. 1994. Selecting the proper pump. Southern Regional Aquaculture Center.

Batchabani E., Fuamba M. 2012. Optimal tank design in water distribution networks: review of literature and perspectives. J Water Res Plan and Manag 140(2):136–145.

BETE. 2013. BETE engineering information – BETE spray nozzles.

BETE. 2018. Misting nozzles – BETE spray nozzles. /PDFs/BETE_0218Metric_Catalog.pdf

Bird J. (ed). 2007. Engineering mathematics. Elsevier Ltd., Netherlands. DOI:

Bos M.G., Kselik R.A., Allen R.G., Molden D. 2008. Water requirements for irrigation and the environment. Wageningen, Springer Science & Business Media, Netherlands.

Cho W.J., Kim H.J., Jung D.H., Kang C.I., Choi G.L., Son J.E. 2017. An embedded system for automated hydroponic nutrient solution management. Trans ASABE 60(4): 1083–1096. DOI:

Deb K., Pratap A., Agarwal S, Meyarivan T. 2002. A fast and elitist multi objective genetic algorithm: NSGA-II. IEEE Trans Evol Comp 6(2): 182–197. DOI:

dos Santos J.D., da Silva A.L.L., da Luz Costa J., Scheidt G.N., Novak A.C., Sydney E.B., Soccol C.R. 2013. Development of a vinasse nutritive solution for hydroponics. J Environ Manag 114: 8–12. DOI:

Fang H., Zhang J., Gao J.L. 2010. Optimal operation of multi-storage tank multi-source system based on storage policy. J Zhejiang Uni-Sci 11(8): 571–579. DOI:

Fonseca C.M., Fleming P.J. 1993. Genetic algorithms for multiobjective optimization: formulation, discussion and generalization. In: Proceedings of the 5th ICGA. pp. 416–423.

Frenning L. 2001. Pump life cycle costs: a guide to LCC analysis for pumping systems. 1001.pdf

Giacomello C., Kapelan Z., Nicolini M. 2012. Fast hybrid optimization method for effective pump scheduling. J Water Res Plan and Manag 139(2): 175–183. DOI:

Golmohammadi G., Prasher S., Madani A., Rudra R. 2014. Evaluating three hydrological distributed watershed models: MIKE-SHE, APEX, SWAT. Hydrology, 1(1): 20-39. DOI:

HDR Engineering. 2001. Handbook of public water systems. 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons Inc., New York, USA.

Jadrnicek S., Jadrnicek S. 2016. The bio-integrated farm: a revolutionary permaculture-based system using greenhouses, ponds, compost piles, aquaponics, chickens, and more. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, USA.

Jones J.J.B. 2016. Hydroponics: a practical guide for the soilless grower. 2nd ed. CRC Press, New York, USA.

Jung D.H., Kim H.J., Choi G.L., Ahn T.I., Son J.E., Sudduth K.A. 2015. Automated lettuce nutrient solution management using an array of ion-selective electrodes. Trans ASABE 58(5): 1309–1319.

Kim H.J., Kim W.K., Roh M.Y., Kang C.I., Park J.M., Sudduth K. 2013. Automated sensing of hydroponic macronutrients using a computer-controlled system with an array of ion-selective electrodes. Comp Elect Agri 93: 46–54. DOI:

King H.W., Wisler C.O. 1974. Hydraulics, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., London, UK.

Kozai T. 2015. The state of Japanese CEA. Greenhouse Management.

Krause P., Boyle D P., Bäse F. 2005. Comparison of different efficiency criteria for hydrological model assessment. Adv. Geosci 5: 89-97.Kurek W., Ostfeld A. 2013. Multi-objective optimization of water quality, pumps operation, and storage size selection of water distribution systems. J Environ Manag 115: 189–197.

Lee S., Lee J. 2015. Beneficial bacteria and fungi in hydroponic systems: types and characteristics of hydroponic food production methods. Sci Hortic 195: 206–215. DOI:

Lira R.M.D., Silva G.F.D., Santos A.N.D., Rolim M.M. 2015. Production, water consumption and nutrient content of Chinese cabbage grown hydroponically in brackish water. Revista Ciência Agronômica 46(3): 497–505. DOI:

Marchi A., Simpson A.R., Lambert M.F. 2017. Pump operation optimization using rule-based controls. Proc Eng 186: 210–217. DOI:

Miranda J.L.H., López L.A.A. 2011. Piping design: the fundamentals.

Moran S. 2016. Pump size selection: bridging the gap between theory and practice. Chem Eng Prog 112(12): 38–44.

Morgan L. 2003. Hydroponics substance. Growing Edge 15(2): 54–66.

Moriasi D.N., Arnold J.G., Van Liew M.W., Bingner R.L., Harmel R.D., Veith, T.L. 2007. Model evaluation guidelines for systematic quantification of accuracy in watershed simulations. Trans ASABE 50(3): 885-900. DOI:

Pagliarulo C.L., Hayden A.L. 2000. Potential for greenhouse aeroponic cultivation of medicinal root crops. Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA.

Paulus D., Paulus E., Nava G.A., Moura C.A. 2012. Growth, water consumption and mineral composition of lettuce in hydroponic system with saline water. Revista Ceres 59(1): 110–117. DOI:

Pignata G., Casale M., Nicola S. 2017. Water and nutrient supply in horticultural crops grown in soilless culture: resource efficiency in dynamic and intensive systems. In: Advances in Research on Fertilization Management of Vegetable Crops. Springer, Cham, Switzerland. pp. 183–219.

Raza A. 2013. Size selection, specifying and selecting centrifugal pumps. Chem Eng 120(2): 43.

Reddy P.P. 2016. Sustainable crop protection under protected cultivation. Springer, Singapore. DOI:

Resh H.M. 2016. Hydroponic food production: a definitive guidebook for the advanced home gardener and the commercial hydroponic grower. CRC Press. New York, USA. DOI:

Samsuri S.F.M., Ahmad R., Hussein M. 2010. Development of nutrient solution mixing process on time-based drip fertigation system. In: Mathematical/Analytical Modelling and Computer Simulation (AMS), 2010 Fourth Asia International Conference on IEEE. pp. 615–619.

Santamaria P., Campanile G., Parente A., Elia A. 2003. Subirrigation vs drip-irrigation: effects on yield and quality of soilless grown cherry tomato. J Hortic Sci Biotech 78(3): 290–296. DOI:

Savic D., Kapelan Z., Farmani R., Giustolisi O. 2007. Optimal design and management of water distribution systems. In: Numerical Modelling of Hydrodynamics for Water Resources. CRC Press, Washington, DC, USA. pp. 37–58.

Srivastava R.C. 1996. Methodology for optimizing design of integrated tank irrigation system. J Water Resou Plan Manag 122(6): 394–402. DOI:

Tolvanen, J. 2007. Life cycle energy cost savings through careful system design and pump selection. World Pumps 2007(490): 34–37. DOI:

Trimmer, W.L., Hansen H.J. 1997. Size selection irrigation mainlines and fittings. A Pacific Northeast extension publication, Washington, USA.

Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia, L.S., Savic, D.A. Walters G.A. 2007. Tank simulation for the optimization of water distribution networks. J Hydr Eng 133(6): 625–636. DOI:

Van Liew, M.W., Arnold, J.G. and Garbrecht, J.D., 2003. Hydrologic simulation on agricultural watersheds: Choosing between two models. Trans. ASAE, 46(6): 1539. DOI:

Van Zyl, J.E., D.A. Savic, Walters G.A. 2004. Operational optimization of water distribution systems using a hybrid genetic algorithm. J Water Res Planning and Manag 130(2): 160–170. DOI:

Washington State Department of Health. 2009. Water system design manual. Office of Drinking Water, Constituent Services Section, Department of Health, Washington, USA.


Original Articles
Aeroponic crop cultivation, nutrient management, irrigation, size selection.
  • Abstract views: 538

  • PDF: 363
  • HTML: 419
How to Cite
Chowdhury, M., Kabir, M. S. N. ., Kim, H.-T. ., & Chung, S.-O. (2020). Method of pump, pipe, and tank selection for aeroponic nutrient management systems based on crop requirements. Journal of Agricultural Engineering, 51(2), 119–128.