Think about the tasty fried chicken that you had this week, the freshness and the savories for which some people goes crazy. In a country like Bangladesh whose economy is very much dependent on agriculture, poultry indeed plays a very vital role. The global trend in increasing meat production using cost effective ways and selecting the best breeds do have its positive effect in Bangladesh. Despite of all the eagerness from different stages of stakeholders, repeated viral diseases and the increasing price of poultry feed and day old chickens almost destroyed the very profitable and well established poultry industry of Bangladesh.
Now question comes on how to manage and innovate indigenous new ideas so as to increase the meat production, be very cost effective and use the least possible area per unit chicken. With this concept in mind, under the supervision of Professor Mohammad Sahadet Hossain from the Department of Mathematics and Physics of North South University, our team worked for more than eight months to incorporate electrical and control engineering into the poultry industry. Together with my research partner Maria Moosa Munnee, we have designed and simulated a working prototype of a robust controller that can control temperature, humidity and internal wind flow of a very large poultry shed.
A research on designing and creating a mathematical model of a robust control system that will be autonomous in controlling various parameters related to a large-scale tunnel-based poultry shed was completed. The base of the research was Balanced Truncation Method, a form of Model Order Reduction (MOR) and we simulated cases of data banks based on experimental results of different existing systems.
PID controller for a tunnel based exhaust system was proposed that was self-controlled from the error signal it receives from its closed loop system. The closed loop system of the exhaust fan accepts two more combined signals from control system of temperature and humidity. Both the temperature and humidity control system are centred on sensors that refer data to their PID controllers. Based on the received data, after defining the error signals from the controllers, which is then sent to the actuators; in their case: fans and water sprayers to keep the whole system inside the poultry house under the determined level.
Our team believes that, if the initial control design works as expected in the practical field then we can design controllers for different types of gas such as ammonia, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane - which are also dependent on the internal wind flow of the tunnel poultry farm. Further work can also be done in controlling water temperature and moisture content of the feed supplied to the chickens.
Another important parameter would be controlling the floor temperature of the shed. Based on the dryness of the floor, the chicken litter remains dry and emits less ammonia, which is desirable for the whole structure. All the above mentioned parameters are somehow linked with each other in one or many ways, but all of them are directly linked and correlated to the overall wind flow present inside.
It is believed that successful design of such autonomous system will help any agricultural based economy and help mitigate the global demand for protein - in a less amount of time utilizing the least possible farm land. Effective design will have much financial benefits and will create the opportunity for further innovations in the sector.
The writers Asif Mahmood Abbas is an alumni and Maria Moosa Munnee is a student of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North South University