PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe global population is expected to require an estimated 60% greater production in food by 2050 (Banerjee). Due to restricted land available for crop growing, vertical farming provides a viable solution due to its ability to optimize space, and because vertical farms are indoors, the produce is not subject to harsh weather patterns, temperatures, or daylight, so the vertical from can maximize crop production (Ku). Since 2010, more than 60% of shopping malls are at the brink of closing down (Yan). These potential vacant malls provide an ideal space for vertical farming. This design focuses on modeling a vertical farm in Foothills Mall in Tucson, Arizona that could later be expanded to other locations around the country and the world. While not abandoned, Foothills Mall provides an adequate structure to model an aquaponics system, which uses fish waste to provide nutrients for the crops. The design grew head lettuce, tomatoes, and strawberries with the goal of meeting the consumption fo 8% of the Tucson population. The project also hoped to maximize renewable energy and be profitable after 25 years. Ultimately, the design exceeded the goal and met the consumption of 27.72% of the population. Moreover, the design was completely powered by solar energy, which is fully renewable. The design was also determined to be profitable after 23 years, and it resulted in a cumulative present value of $2.6 million after 25 years. All in all, the design proved to be a sustainable and profitable solution for abandoned malls.
Degree ProgramChemical Engineering