An autonomous, low-cost and portable lysimeter for use in a greenhouse system

Project number: 
UA Department of Biosystems Engineering
Academic year: 
The Smart Lysimeter automates the process of collecting data on the nutrient solution, pH, electrical conductivity (EC), and drainage rate in a greenhouse, eliminating the need for manual labor. These metrics are crucial for maintaining the proper environment for crop growth and resource allocation. This lysimeter fills a market niche by automatically collecting all the necessary data to make real-time greenhouse operation decisions, without requiring high-tech, expensive equipment. It can also be transferred between greenhouses and crops with just a few simple steps.

The design consists of a divided tank, each side equipped with a pH probe, EC probe, fluid level sensor and pump. The two-section tank allows for monitoring of both the solution that drains out of the plants, and the solution being given to the plants. After data is collected, the solutions are pumped out of the system and into a drainage channel so they can be recycled. The team developed software to autonomously collect data from the sensors at appropriate time intervals, process the data and display it in a user-friendly manner. A Raspberry Pi serves as the microcontroller and data storage unit, allowing for a historical log of data.

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