In the project AquaInno (Ecologically compatible aquaculture using floating flow-/circulation systems) we tested novel floating flow-/circulation plants to address sustainable, ecosystem-friendly system designs. AquaInno was a joint project including partners from industry and research, within which ecologically functioning alternatives regarding the traditional fish farm cages were conducted. Our approach was to lower the ecological impact of inshore, nearshore, and offshore aquaculture facilities. The consortium were set-up within the framework of InnoNet - Promotion of innovative networks (Förderung von innovativen Netzwerken), consisted of specialists with regard to system design, synthetic material plant construction, electronics, environmental legislation, biology and applied aquaculture. In cooperation with the AWI (lead), the University of Applied Sciences Bremerhaven and the University of Rostock, a patent of the company Aquanova GmbH was further developed. The project AquaInno was financed both by the industry partners Aquanova GmbH, GMA Gesellschaft für Marine Aquakultur mbH, Fishery Müritz-Plau GmbH, Klävertec Sewage Plant Construction GmbH, OPTIMARE Sensor Systems AG, Peehs Plastics Construction, Sasol Wax GmbH. The project was financed by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.
The technology applied in our project consisted of a closed aquaculture production plant for outdoor areas. Further innovations included modularity, system security, labour utilization, as well as disease prevention. Depending on operating mode the system could be used either as floating circulation or as flow device.
Details of the AquaInno-system:
- The aquaculture plant had a multi-stage filter technology. In the first step, the sedimentation, the firm particles were precipitated and collected. This allowed the possibility to use it as integrated aquaculture system. A second step included a bioflow reactor, where a nitrification and de-nitrification unit eliminates nutrients. A special sensor system monitored the water quality inside and outside of the system and therefore allowed the kind of water flow (recirc or flow-through).
- The efficiency of feeding was close to 100 %. An integrated dumping device of the culture tank simplified O&M as well as harvesting, which eases the management of the device while at the same time reducing stress for the cultivated species. This prevented both (1) difficult and unhealthy working conditions as well as (2) ectoparasites entering the system while working on it. Product quality was hence increased by lower stress load and the renunciation of medication use.
- Solar panels were used as energy supply.
- The wild fish population in the pond and its biodiversity was protected from the aquaculture, its faeces, other released nutrients and other contaminants. The flow-through operation was controlled by a sensors suite, which adjusted the flow predominantly as an internal recycling and therefore protects the cultured from any influence originating from the pond while also the surrounding environment was protected by any release from the culture.
The economic feasibility was another sub-project, but of prime priority. The potential applications for the current fresh water aquaculture in Europe were considered to be enormous. Replacing some net pens by the AquaInno system to reduce the ecological damage was calculated to of significant importance. Economic success could therefore be accompanied by ecological production.