ABB systems to power new salmon farming concept31 May 2019

Arctic Offshore Farming 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 responsibility for electrical, automation, instrumentation and telecom solutions.

Arctic Offshore Farming is a Norway Royal Salmon (NRS) project. NRS has received 7.68 development permits that allow the company a total of up to 5,990 tons of salmon at the fish farm location.

The offshore farm will consist of two large fish cages that are placed in the Norwegian Sea outside Troms, in an area where weather and wave conditions are far more demanding than inside the fjords, where traditional farms are located.

Placing the farm offshore is said to reduce its environmental footprint, while providing an opportunity to study if this can provide a healthier environment for the fish. But the harsh climate also means stricter safety requirements are required. ABB will be responsible for designing the monitoring and control systems that will make it possible to operate the plant safely. This means, among other things, 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 cross-industry digital offering — extending from device to edge to cloud — with devices, systems, solutions, and services.

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. 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, while at the same time lowering 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 also 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, amongst others.

“One purpose of awarding a development license is to find solutions to some of the challenges the industry has today so that it can continue to grow in a sustainable way,” says Lars Wasa Andersen, sales specialist for aquaculture at ABB. “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.”

“The contract fits perfect with ABB’s vision regarding aquaculture,” adds Steffen Waal, country manager of ABB Norway. “With this project, ABB is entering as a supplier to the future offshore fish farms, which places new demands on both safe operation and technical solutions. ABB has total responsibility for technical solution within several disciplines.”

The entire solution will be in place by the end of Q3 2020.

Adam Offord

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