Powering offshore salmon farming
ABB has announced it has been awarded an aquaculture project to power an arctic offshore farming facility in Norway where up to 5990 tonnes of salmon will be farmed. The solution is expected to be in place by the end of September 2020.
Arctic Offshore Farming, a Norway Royal Salmon (NRS) project, is developing a new concept for salmon farming using remote-controlled and submersible fish pens based on offshore technology. ABB will have a comprehensive system responsible for electrical, automation, instrumentation and telecom solutions.
The offshore farm consists of two large fish cages that are placed in the Norwegian Sea outside Troms, which has much harsher weather and wave conditions than traditional fjord-based farms. Although an offshore farm reduces the environmental footprint and provides an opportunity to study if this can provide a healthier environment for the fish, the harsh climate also requires stricter safety requirements.
ABB will be responsible for designing the monitoring and control systems that will make it possible to operate the plant safely. This means that there are back-up solutions, or redundancy, in critical systems such as energy supply and communication. The solution is a part of ABB Ability, the company’s unified, cross-industry digital offering, extending from device to edge to cloud.
Pontoons over and under the fish pens will keep the pens in place in two different positions. In the service position, the facility is lifted to allow access to the equipment, and in the normal operating position, the roof of the cages will lie 10 metres below the sea surface. This will result in reduced lice impact and lower the risk of escape. In ballasting and de-ballasting (raising and lowering), the fish pens will be partially submerged.
Among the most critical systems are the pontoon ballast water systems, designed to ensure that the pens are stable. ABB will deliver the control system with sensors, monitoring, automation and interfaces for the remote control of the pumps. The harsh climate in the Norwegian Sea presents challenges with fouling and icing, which will cause time-varying weight changes challenging the constructions ballast system supplied by ABB.
The system collects environmental data including meteorological conditions, ocean currents, oxygen level and sea temperature. It also monitors the pH at different depths and the amount of biomass in the cages.
“One purpose of awarding a development licence is to find solutions to some of the challenges the industry has today so that it can continue to grow in a sustainable way. The pens will be unmanned and operate in submerged operation. The fish pens are remotely controlled from a feed barge that lies about 400 metres from the pens. Technically, the fish farm can just as easily be managed from a control room on land,” said Lars Wasa Andersen, Sales Specialist (Aquaculture) at ABB.
Steffen Waal, Country Manager of ABB Norway, said the project fits with the company’s vision to become the most valuable partner within electrical, instrument, automation and telecom systems for aquaculture customers.
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