Image: © Malin Marine Services
Over the decades, aquaculture workboats have grown in size and number but are still lacking from an environmental perspective, despite today being predominantly purpose-built. However, recognising that the future will be electric, the industry is starting to shift towards full battery electric and hybrid solutions, but these still need to be developed.
Existing low carbon vessels, that are prevalent in other marine operations, may not be suitable for fish farm operations and could result in an underutilised, but expensive asset. New solutions require high capital investment and therefore limit cost-saving opportunities and reduce market uptake. Before the industry reaches a point where a bespoke electric or hybrid system can be developed and implemented, a concerted effort is necessary first in order to rationalise and reduce fuel consumption overall.
This will be the aim of the new Seafood Innovation Fund awarded project LEWAS (Low Emission Workboats for the Aquaculture Sector), which will identify viable and cost-effective methods for improving fuel efficiency of aquaculture workboats and contribute to decreasing their greenhouse gas emissions. The project partners – Malin Marine Services (part of the Malin group), The Scottish Salmon Company, and HSSMI – have set the ambitious target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aquaculture vessels by up to 25% due to decreased fuel usage, resulting in annual emission and fuel cost reductions. This will be achieved through a comprehensive analysis of data sets from workboats in operation on the fish farm.
Once the key methods for improving fuel efficiency are identified, HSSMI will lead the work on assessing these solutions using simulation modelling. The low emission solutions can be built into the day-to-day working of the farm using data captured from the vessels and information about the farm’s operation, allowing for a variety of KPIs to be tracked, including fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, fuel and operational costs, and return on investment. This will help identify potential opportunities for economic and environmental benefits.
The final output of the project will be a costed proposal, detailing the economic, environmental, and operational impact, as well as the future benefits of the proposed solution. This will help support and justify any investments and help Malin Marine Services to accelerate the development of its electrified aquaculture workboat. A larger follow-on project to build and demonstrate this electrified workboat is the next logical stage and is the ambitions of the LEWAS consortium.
For more information contact:
Project Lead Ross Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Dissemination Lead Zane Mezdreija at email@example.com
About the UK Seafood Innovation Fund
The UK Seafood Innovation Fund is a £10 million programme supporting new ideas to deliver cutting-edge technology and innovation to the UK’s fishing, aquaculture and seafood industries.
Administered by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the programme encourages sustainable and innovative ideas to bring about seafood security, new partnerships across seafood and technology sectors, and to contribute to strong evidence-based management.