The literature over the past 25 years indicates that there has been a continued interest in using passive and active solar technologies to reduce the conventional energy required to maintain water temperatures in small recirculation aquaculture systems. Although all of the experimental systems reviewed report favourable results, there is little information available to guide system designers. This paper describes the use of a simulation model to predict the annual conventional energy consumption of a 10.6 m3 RAS enclosed in a double layer polyethylene greenhouse in two different climates. The water was maintained at 22.5 °C and the recirculation rate was 10% of tank volume per day. Simple unglazed solar collectors have also been combined with the greenhouse to further reduce energy consumption. The effect of increasing collector area on the solar fraction and utilization of useful energy was predicted. Finally, the model was used to investigate the relationship between the occurrence of condensation on the inner cover, ventilation rates and energy use. It was found that in a hot dry climate, the greenhouse alone was sufficient to reduce the conventional energy requirements by 87%; while in the cooler temperate climate reductions of 66% were possible. When solar collectors were added to the system, conventional energy requirements were reduced further and depended on the area of collector used. For example, in the temperate climate location, conventional energy requirements were reduced to 23% of a RAS enclosed in a non-solar building when 26 m2 of solar collector inclined at the optimum angle for winter energy collection were used. Although condensation could be successfully reduced by ventilation of the greenhouse, this increased conventional energy requirements because the potential for evaporation was increased. Covering the tanks at night was found to be a more effective strategy because it reduced condensation and conventional energy use simultaneously.
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