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Renewable energy solutions are likely to significantly cut emissions on a fish farm. Helleik L. Syse / Grieg Seafood

World - Renewable Energy Could Transform Offshore Aquaculture, But What About …

… costs, extreme geographies, intermittency, unfavorable weather and other challenges? Experts say to look at ways to reduce demand first.

Aquaculture relies on energy. And with this dependence on energy comes the responsibility of ensuring that it’s used efficiently with minimal environmental impact. Some farms are now investigating this with the help of renewable energy.

Norwegian firm Moss Maritime is developing a floating solar project to power small remote islands, utility grids, oil and gas operations and fish farms. It’s a potential fit for ambitious Norwegian companies aiming to operate massive offshore salmon farms, sited many miles from shore.

“Farms located far out at sea will consume more energy and connecting them to an onshore electricity grid will become increasingly challenging,” Alexander Minge Thøgersen, VP-engineering at Moss Marime told the Advocate. “Nevertheless, offshore fish farms need power for their operations and must be able to provide clean power in remote locations. We believe there may be a potential market for renewable energy in Norway and are looking at how it could be integrated.”

Moss Maritime’s project is based on a concept that’s designed for easy fabrication, transportation and installation. It will include several floating structures, a conventional mooring system and solar panels that will be towed out to a farm site. Hopes are high that it will positively impact fish farms’ environmental footprints and provide cheaper power.

“Farms will have to be designed to receive power from renewable energy sources,” said Thøgersen. “How exposed they are, and how much energy they require, will also come into play. They shouldn’t have to make significant adjustments, but this will depend on their existing power supply, such as whether they have sea cables or generators. The major challenge will be to develop a concept that’s robust and competitive with alternative solutions but we’re focusing on this through an ongoing development project with Norwegian energy firm Equinor.”

Following a simplified model test at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Moss Maritime will be conducting a more extensive test on motion behavior. The project’s development phase finishes at the end of this year, and a full-size version will hopefully be demonstrated next year.

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