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Spanish researchers collaborate on aquaculture tech

The new systems could save farmers up to 30 percent in energy consumption, creators say.

Researchers from Spain are working on sustainable alternatives for the aquaculture sector to help enable producers to replace commercial oxygen with renewable energy, said the Centro Tecnológico de Acuicultura de Andalucía (The Aquaculture Technology Center of Adalucia) on Tuesday.

The energy savings due to eco-efficient systems designed for the aquaculture sector can save up to 30 percent of energy consumption, the group said.

The researchers are collaborating on the LIFE AQUASEF project, spurred by the fact that 45 percent of aquaculture sites are "far from urban centers, mainly located in highly valued natural areas without access to the grid, [which] forces them to increase their consumption and their expenses almost fivefold in comparison with aquaculture facilities better connected."

The AQUASEF project, coordinated by ARIEMA and the beneficiary partners Inoma Renovables (former Heliotrónica), D&BTech, Esteros de Canela and the Centro Tecnológico de Acuicultura de Andalucía, has developed two prototypes -- the MicroBtech, designed for reproduction and pre-fattening molecules and O2BT, designed for fattening aquaculture ponds. In the technology, "air and water are pumped through conduits into a specially designed membrane to generate small bubbles with an associated reduction in energy consumption," the group said.

"The secret is in the size of the bubble, which is minimal," said expert Javier Davila.

The technology has been tested at Esteros de Canela facilities, and creators say the MicroBTech technology has proven that it provides a better dissolution of oxygen bubbles; while the O2BTech has replaced successfully the commercial oxygen with atmospheric air.

“These aerators provide an economic and sustainable alternative to the aquaculture sector by allowing producers the replacement of commercial oxygen for atmospheric air with the same oxygen capacity than actual techniques. Besides, energy savings related to the innovation are up to 30 percent of the original cost resulting from the energy needed to aerate the tank” Davila said.

Further testing is scheduled for this summer.