Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UMass Amherst Team Offers New Integrated Building Model to Improve Success of Fish Farming Operations

10.02.2012
Today’s "locavore" movement with its emphasis on eating more locally-produced food is a natural fit for fruits and vegetables in nearly every region, but few entrepreneurs have dared to apply the concept to fish farming.

Those who have ventured to turn a vacant barn or garage into an aquaculture business have too often been defeated by high energy and feed costs, building-related woes and serious environmental problems, says aquaculture researcher Andy Danylchuk at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Now he and colleagues are melding building design, fish ecology and aquaculture engineering techniques into a first-of-its-kind "building-integrated aquaculture" (BIAq) model to offer an affordable, more holistic and sustainable approach to indoor fish production located close to markets and able to succeed even in cold climates. Their ideas are outlined in the current issue of ASHRAE Journal, published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

As Danylchuk explains, typically when a small-scale entrepreneur starts up an aquaculture operation, he or she installs tanks and plumbing in an old chicken barn, for example. "But that’s like building a house with no regard for the occupants’ comfort or their utility budget," he says. In fact, studies show over 75 percent of total energy demands in the United States are due to building operations.

"Our team began looking at renewable energy systems to make power more affordable, and how fish farm waste streams can become plant food rather than an environmental headache. If you start by taking the building into consideration, these operations might actually become economically feasible," the fish ecologist adds.

The need for local aquaculture is clear, he and fellow UMass Amherst Building-Integrated Aquaculture Working Group members James Webb and green building expert Simi Hoque point out. Due to declining wild fish stocks and environmental degradation, fish farms now account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s total fisheries production and it’s growing.

Further, "while per capita seafood consumption has already reached record levels in the United States, recent USDA recommendations suggest more than twice this amount for a healthy lifestyle. Achieving this goal represents a significant challenge considering approximately 85 percent of U.S. seafood is imported and nearly half of this comes from overseas aquaculture production." These imports are tainted by food security and quality issues as well as considerable environmental drawbacks and financial costs of global transportation.

The BIAq team therefore set out to design a practical model for small businesses to help them produce good quality, local seafood with a modest investment of cash, low energy use, low greenhouse gas emissions, low waste/environmental damage and at prices consumers can afford. Their model dovetails systems to maximize energy efficiency and aquaculture operations by simultaneously addressing humidity, condensation, airflow, water flow, waste stream recovery, passive and renewable energy and worker health and safety.

For example, the BIAq model calls for recirculating fish tank wastewater through a step-wise filter system to remove waste and food residue and re-use the dissolved carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous nutrients as fertilizer in a hydroponic garden. In this way, wastewater is cleaned and recirculated back to the fish, while supporting a cash-crop such as herbs or garden greens attractive to consumers, and diverting wastewater from the environment.

Using a solar water-heating system can dramatically cut energy costs, as well. Another synergistic benefit can be gained by using heat pumps and exchangers, package refrigeration and condensation units to complement each other in controlling humidity and warming the atmosphere in an operation that is water-vapor intensive. Even small changes such as locating supply air ducts to the ceiling to allow air to move over interior walls helps to prevent moisture accumulation and mitigate high humidity, the authors point out.

"We identify areas where a BIAq approach might increase efficiency and reduce operating costs. Our focus is on processes and design decisions that have the greatest potential for energy conservation in the heavily populated temperate regions of the world." They add, "Climate control is a major challenge for indoor recirculating aquaculture systems, and continuing to ignore the design of the building envelope will result in inefficiencies and higher costs."

The authors hope that framing the development of recirculating aquaponics facilities as a holistic and synergistic systems-based endeavor will enable a robust analysis of the environmental, social and economic benefits that will make fish production more sustainable.

This work was supported by the Allen Family Foundation, the USDA’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture, the Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station and Department of Environmental Conservation and the Clarence and Anne Dillon Dunwalke Trust.

Janet Lathrop | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umass.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Climate change, population growth may lead to open ocean aquaculture
05.10.2017 | Oregon State University

nachricht New machine evaluates soybean at harvest for quality
04.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>