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Aquaculture sector gains tools to improve energy efficiency in production

09 August 2021

Three years later, the inter-regional Acuaenergy project has come to an end. The main objective, now fulfilled, was to contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of the aquaculture sector by proposing solutions to increase energy efficiency.

The project culminated in the launch of a tool that allows professionals in the sector to analyze the energy profile of the facilities they manage, and access a set of proposals for energy improvement adapted to each type of production unit.

The automation of this analysis is now a reality thanks, in part, to INEGI’s work, which traced the energy profile of 3 installations installed in the North of Portugal. This study allowed the extrapolation of an image of the sector, and as explained by Ana Magalhães, responsible for the project at INEGI, "to determine the processes and equipment with the highest consumption and to identify plans to improve the facilities.”

The team concluded, for example, that "among the processes with the highest energy consumption is pumping, which represents up to 80% of consumption, and the processes of acclimatization of water, disinfection and even water oxygenation”, says Ana Magalhães.

Optimizing energy consumption, according to the team of experts, involves a wide range of measures, from increasing the efficiency of pumping equipment, implementing heat recovery in air conditioning processes, and integrating renewable energies such as solar photovoltaic or wind power.

These conclusions, together with the work carried out on the other side of the border, also served as the basis for dissemination actions and specialized training, as well as a Good Practices Manual, with the objective of promoting real changes in the sector.

The Acuaenergy project was born from a cross-border approach to revitalize the competitiveness of the aquaculture sector, which is directly related to the cost of production, namely high energy costs. Minimizing the environmental impact of this industry was also a priority for the consortium.

The project, which ended on June 23rd, and brought together INEGI, University of Porto – Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, and Spanish companies CETGA, Cluster de la Acuicultura de Galicia, University of Vigo, ELA Ingenieria y Medio Ambiente, and UN-EM Consulting.

The ACUAENERGY project - Improving the competitiveness of aquaculture facilities through energy efficiency is financed by the INTERREG Spain-Portugal (POCTEP) program.

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