Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Chemical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

Dr. Michael Cheung

First Reader

Chelsea Monty

Second Reader

Wil Hemker


A design was developed for a controlled environment agriculture 3D greenhouse to grow and harvest TKS dandelions, as well as a processing plant to extract natural rubber and inulin from the roots. The design capacity was scaled for both pilot- and full-scale production: 100 and 100,000 tonnes of natural rubber per year, respectively. The byproducts of the process were dandelion greens, inulin, cellulose, and glucose; all of these except for cellulose were able to be valorized. The greenhouse was designed based on existing 3D hydroponic growing environments, and the extraction process was designed based on the original TKS dandelion extraction process. Equipment sizes and costs were determined using correlations from literature as well as data from existing processes. For the pilot-scale case, the capital and annual operating costs were $118 million and $27 million, respectively, and the annual product value was $5.8 million. For the full-scale case, the capital and annual operating costs were $118 billion and $15 billion, respectively, and the annual product value was $5.8 billion. In order to be profitable, is recommended to evaluate ways to increase the natural rubber yield from the dandelion roots and to utilize more conventional farming methods in the greenhouse.