Desalination and Greenhouses

  • Hassan El-Banna S. FathEmail author
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 75)


Egypt’s hot climate, high solar radiation, and lack of irrigating water are limiting factors for successful farmland, and makes growing crops an expensive and resource-intensive endeavor. In addition, Egypt is composed of 95% desert land which makes growing plants in open fields difficult due to infertile soil, low average rainfall, and lack of freshwater for irrigation purposes. These difficulties can be overcome by using Greenhouses (GHs) for agricultural purposes which can provide the proper environment for plants growth in all seasons.

GHs are a type of indoor facility which is enclosed by transparent covers and have the ability to control internal climatic conditions and could potentially reduce the amount of water required for irrigation purposes in agricultural production. In addition, the use of GHs allows the production of high quantity and quality crops throughout the year. In cold climate regions, GHs have been introduced to collect (trap) solar energy and heat the GHs in order to maximize crops productivity. However, in arid areas with high atmospheric temperatures and high solar intensity, this can be a burden on plants growth and reducing the temperature inside the GHs would be essential for successful plants growth.

On the other hand, desalination has been introduced as an alternative nonconventional water resource for regions of limited freshwater resources. Extensive desalination technologies have been launched in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region since the 1970s. It is sometimes less expensive to desalinate saline water than to transport treated water from remote freshwater resources (300–500 km away). In Egypt, desalination is considered as a strategic alternative to water transport particularly after the construction of Ethiopian dam on the Blue Nile (the main source of water for Egypt).

Integration of desalination with GHs has recently been introduced in warm and hot climate regions as an alternative solution for food production particularly in remote areas as in desert and coastal zones.

This chapter outlines the desalination processes as a nonconventional resource for both potable and GH irrigation water. In addition, a summary of the different types of agricultural GHs is described. This is followed by a presentation of the different options of integrating desalination processes as a source of water for GHs irrigation. Finally, the chapter concludes with some case studies required for optimizing GH–desalination integrated system’s operational performance.


Agricultural greenhouses Desalination Nonconventional water resources 



Air Conditioning




Capital cost


Capacitance deionization


Computational fluid dynamics


Electrodialysis (reverse)


Forward osmosis






Humidification dehumidification


High salinity brackish water


Ion exchange


Low salinity brackish water


Membrane distillation


Multiple effect distillation


Multi stage flash


Mechanical vapor compression


Nano filtration


Operation and maintenance


Operational cost


Part per million




Research & development


Reverse osmosis


Solar still


Transparent photovoltaic


Thermal vapor compression


Vapor compression


  1. 1.
    Internet, Google Earth (2016)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
  3. 3.
    Yohannes T, Fath H (2013) Thermal analysis of a novel agriculture greenhouse: self sufficient of energy and irrigating water. In: 24th Canadian congress of applied mechanics, 2–6 JuneGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Davies P (2005) A solar cooling system for greenhouse food production in hot climates. Sol Energy 79:661–668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lychnos G, Davies P (2012) Modelling and experimental verification of a solar-powered liquid desiccant cooling system for greenhouse food production in hot climates. Energy 40:116–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Radwan A, Fath H (2005) Thermal performance of greenhouse with built-in solar distillation system: experimental study. Desalination 181(1–3):193–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Saleh A, Hassan G, Fath H, El-Helw M (2015) Development of a novel solar driven agriculture greenhouse: self sufficient of energy and irrigating water. In: International Desalination Association World Congress on Desalination and Water Reuse 2015/San Diego, CA, USA. REF: IDAWC15, Salah, AugGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Baille A, Kittas C, Katsoulas A (2001) Influence of whitening on greenhouse microclimate and crop energy partitioning. Agric Meteorol 107(4):293–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mashonjowa E, Ronsse F, Mhizha T, Milford JR, Lemeur R, Pieters JG (2010) The effects of whitening and dust accumulation on the microclimate and canopy behaviour of rose plants (Rosa hybrida) in a greenhouse in Zimbabwe. Sol Energy 84(1):10–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Willits D (2001) SE – structures and environment: the effect of cloth characteristics on the cooling performance of external shade cloths for greenhouses. J Agric Eng Res 79:331–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fath HE (1994) Transient analysis of naturally ventilated greenhouse with built-in solar still and waste heat and mass recovery system. Energy Convers Manag 35:955–965CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fath HE (1992) Development of a natural draft solar fan for ventilation of greenhouses in hot climates. Int J Solar Energy 13:237–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Fath HE (1993) Development of a new passive solar fan for ventilation of greenhouse in hot climate. Int J Solar Energy 13(4)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Boulard T, Draoui B (1995) Natural ventilation of a greenhouse with continuous roof vents: measurements and data analysis. J Agric Eng Res 61:27–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Boulard T, Menesesb JF, Mermiera M, Papadakisc G (1996) The mechanisms involved in the natural ventilation of greenhouses. Agric Meteorol 79:61–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Boulard T, Feuilloley P, Kittas C (1997) Natural ventilation performance of six greenhouse and tunnel types. J Agric Eng Res 67:249–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Teitel M, Tanny J (1999) Natural ventilation of greenhouses: experiments and model. Agric For Meteorol 96:59–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Demrati H, Boulard T, Bekkaoui A, Bouirden L (2001) SE – structures and environment: natural ventilation and microclimatic performance of a large-scale banana greenhouse. J Agric Eng Res 80(3):261–271. doi: 10.1006/jaer.2001.0740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Pérez Parra J, Baeza E, Montero JI, Bailey BJ (2004) Natural ventilation of parral greenhouses. Biosyst Eng 87(3):355–366. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystemseng.2003.12.004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Nielsen OF (2002) SE – structures and environment: natural ventilation of a greenhouse with top screen. Biosyst Eng 81:443–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Fatnassi H, Boulard T, Demrati H, Bouirden L, Sappe G (2002) SE – structures and environment: ventilation performance of a large Canarian-type greenhouse equipped with insect-proof nets. Biosyst Eng 82(1):97–105. doi: 10.1006/bioe.2001.0056CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Baeza EJ, Pérez-Parra JJ, Montero JI, Bailey BJ, López JC, Gázquez JC (2009) Analysis of the role of sidewall vents on buoyancy-driven natural ventilation in parral-type greenhouses with and without insect screens using computational fluid dynamics. Biosyst Eng 104:86–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Fuchs M, Dayan E, Shmuel D, Zipori I (1997) Effects of ventilation on the energy balance of a greenhouse with bare soil. Agric Meteorol 86(3–4):273–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Willits D (2003) Cooling fan-ventilated greenhouses: a modelling study. Biosyst Eng 84:315–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kittas C, Karamanis M, Katsoulas N (2005) Air temperature regime in a forced ventilated greenhouse with rose crop. Energy Build 37(8):807–812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kittas C, Katsoulas N, Baille A (2001) Influence of greenhouse ventilation regime on the microclimate and energy partitioning of a rose canopy during summer conditions. J Agric Eng Res 79(3):349–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Jain D, Tiwari GN (2002) Modeling and optimal design of evaporative cooling system in controlled environment greenhouse. Energy Convers Manage 43(16):2235–2250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kittas C, Bartzanas T, Jaffrin A (2003) Temperature gradients in a partially shaded large greenhouse equipped with evaporative cooling pads. Biosyst Eng 85(1):87–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Fuchs M, Dayan E, Presnov E (2006) Evaporative cooling of a ventilated greenhouse rose cro. Agric Meteorol 138(1–4):203–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ganguly A, Ghosh S (2007) Modeling and analysis of a fan–pad ventilated floricultural greenhouse. Energ Buildings 39(10):1092–1097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ahmed EM, Abaas O, Ahmed M, Ismail MR (2011) Performance evaluation of three different types of local evaporative cooling pads in greenhouses in Sudan. Saudi J Biol Sci 18(1):45–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Arbel A, Barak M, Shklyar A (2003) Combination of forced ventilation and fogging systems for cooling greenhouses. Biosyst Eng 84(1):45–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Abdel-Ghany AM, Kozai T (2006) Dynamic modeling of the environment in a naturally ventilated, fog-cooled greenhouse. Renew Energy 31(10):1521–1539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    García ML, Medrano E, Sánchez-Guerrero MC, Lorenzo P (2011) Climatic effects of two cooling systems in greenhouses in the Mediterranean area: external mobile shading and fog system. Biosyst Eng 108(2):133–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    López A, Valera DL, Molina-Aiz FD, Peña A (2012) Sonic anemometry to evaluate airflow characteristics and temperature distribution in empty Mediterranean greenhouses equipped with pad–fan and fog systems. Biosyst Eng 113(4):334–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Öztürk HH (2003) Evaporative cooling efficiency of a fogging system for greenhouses. Turk J Agric For 27:49–57Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Toida H, Kozai T, Ohyama K, Handarto Y (2006) Enhancing fog evaporation rate using an upward air stream to improve greenhouse cooling performance. Biosyst Eng 93(2):205–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Sutar RF, Tiwari GN (1995) Analytical and numerical study of a controlled-environment agricultural system for hot and dry climatic conditions. Energy Build 23(1):9–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Ghosal MK, Tiwari GN, Srivastava NSL (2003) Modeling and experimental validation of a greenhouse with evaporative cooling by moving water film over external shade cloth. Energy Build 35(8):843–850CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Santamouris M, Mihalakakou G, Balaras C, Argiriou A, Asimakopoulos D, Vallindras M (1995) Use of buried pipes for energy conservation in cooling of agricultural greenhouses. Sol Energy 55:111–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Ghosal M, Tiwari G, Srivastava N (2004) Thermal modeling of a greenhouse with an integrated earth to air heat exchanger: an experimental validation. Energy Build 36:219–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Tiwari G, Akhtar M, Shukla A, Khan ME (2006) Annual thermal performance of greenhouse with an earth–air heat exchanger: an experimental validation. Renew Energy 31:2432–2446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Ghosal M, Tiwari G (2006) Modeling and parametric studies for thermal performance of an earth to air heat exchanger integrated with a greenhouse. Energy Convers Manag 47:1779–1798CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Fath H, Abdelrahman KY (2004) micro climatic environmental conditions inside greenhouses with built-in solar distillation system. Desalination 171(3):267–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Janajreh I, Fath H, Raza SS (2012) Thermal performance of solar-distillation integrated greenhouse. In: 4th Jordanian IIR international conference on refrigeration and air conditioning (4th JIIRCRAC), Amman, Jordan, 10–12 SeptGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (EJUST)AlexandriaEgypt

Personalised recommendations