Climate Behaviour and Plant Heat Activity of a Citrus Tunnel Greenhouse: A Computational Fluid Dynamic Study
Response to the expanding demand for high-quality citrus saplings plants requires optimisation and a deep understanding of production climate behaviour. In this context, greenhouse production is the most used technique because it allows farmers to effectively monitor plant growth through production condition control, especially climatic parameters. The current work presents an analysis of climate behaviour and plant heat activity of a citrus sapling tunnel greenhouse in the middle region of Morocco. In this regard, a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model was developed and validated with respect to temperature and relative humidity measured values. The specificity of this model is the inclusion of a new non-grey radiative and heat transfers physical sub-models to couple the convective and radiative exchanges at the plastic roof cover and crop level. The findings showed that using a green shade net increased the greenhouse shadow, and the layering of plastic and shade net significantly reduced solar radiation inside the greenhouse by 50%. Also, the greenhouse airflow speed was deficient; it cannot exceed 0.3 ms−1, hence the dominance of the chimney effect in heat transfer. Despite the previous results, analyses of greenhouse temperature and relative humidity fields clearly showed the greenhouse climate behaviour heterogeneity, where spatial greenhouse air temperature and relative humidity difference values reached a maximum of 29.7 °C and 23%, respectively. For citrus plants, heat activity results showed that a weak fraction (1.44%) of the short wavelength radiation is converted to latent heat, which explains the low plant transpiration under these conditions. While the convective currents are the primary source of temperature and relative humidity heterogeneity inside the greenhouse, the presence of crop rows tends to homogenise the climate inside the greenhouse. We also concluded the necessity of proper condensation modelling near ground surfaces and inside the crop, and the water vapour effect on climate determination.