Tuesday, December 20, 2016

20/12/2016: How is an emerging renewable energy technology helping moor fish farms sustainably?

by David Stoddart-Scott

It is estimated that the UK could supply between 15 and 20 percent of its electricity demand from tidal energy.

What relevance does that have to aquaculture you may ask?

The answer lies in the common need for technologies that allow access to environmentally energetic marine sites; there is potential for an anchoring product developed in tidal energy to allow placement of fish farms in sites previously out of reach.

A key obstacle to the delivery of commercially viable tidal energy is the capital cost associated with installing the infrastructure of a project whilst keeping it in the same place and connected to the seabed for the duration of its 25 year life.

Whilst considerably more benign, the same essential challenge can be found in aquaculture.

Reaping the benefits of higher current flow
The benefits of siting fish farms in areas with higher current flow are clear and have been noted in a number of studies. They range from a lower incidence of sea lice to greater water exchange supplying fresh water and removing excess feed and waste.

However higher current and increasingly exposed sites bring dual challenges of greater mooring loads combined with rocky seabeds; which are not suited to current anchoring technologies.

How do we more securely anchor cages and feed barges, and at the same time potentially open up the options for using sites with higher current flow and rocky seabeds? Rock anchors are an enabling technology for sites with solid geology.

As an established technology, drilled and grouted rock anchors, or micro-piles as they are sometimes referred to, have been trialled previously in aquaculture with limited success.

A drilled-only rock anchor with a mechanical connection to the rock is a new concept in the marine environment; which has however had extensive use at smaller scale as rock bolts in the construction industry.

Read the full article HERE.

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