The economic feasibility and profitability of aquaponics is a debated topic. The aquaponics industry in the Twin Cities is rapidly growing, as is consumers’ interest in local and sustainable foods. The time has come for a critical look at the inputs and outputs of aquaponic systems across varying production methods and scales. The MnDRIVE project considers aquaponic systems in greenhouse and warehouse spaces. The University of Minnesota has constructed four different systems for comparison (floating raft, tiered nutrient film technique, A-frame, and a Nelson Pade F5 system), along with two additional systems built by industry partners. These include Spark-Y (tiered media based system) and Tangletown (floating raft system).
Cost data on set-up, utilities, materials, and labor is being collected as well as the production potential of the systems. As production continues, further data will be collected on yields and maintenance costs. When the MnDRIVE economic feasibility project is completed, analysis of the data will provide insight on many of the unknown questions surrounding the cost
effectiveness of aquaponics in Minnesota.