VARD helps to pioneer innovative ‘Aqua Semi’ concept

VARD is bringing its long experience and heavyweight technical expertise as a fully integrated shipbuilder to the conceptual development of an innovative aquaculture production platform designed to enable sustainable fish farming in more exposed locations that are today off-limits to conventional technology. Featured at our stand at the Aqua Nor trade show.

24. August 2021

Aqua FULL 02 lowres

Development licences awarded

VARD offers a broad portfolio of concepts within aquaculture comprising service vessels and barges. We also develop tailored concepts for and in close cooperation with customers. In addition, our Vard Aqua business unit offers a broad range of tried and tested equipment and innovative solutions for the aquaculture industry.

We also work with many exciting development projects in VARD, including concept development of more complex fish-farming infrastructure such as the Aqua Semi production unit, which has been granted four development licences by the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries (Fiskeridirektoratet).

Aqua Semi

Semi-Submersible and Semi-Closed Production Unit for Fish Farming

Concept breaks new ground

The patented Aqua Semi solution features a partially enclosed, semi-submersible production unit inspired by semi-sub drilling rigs used in the offshore industry. The circular steel hull builds on the same principles, with the buoyancy ring pontoon located well below the water surface to ensure stability. Emptying or filling the pontoon raises or lowers the unit as required.

Designed to withstand higher wave heights, Aqua Semi will be secured in position by anchored double chains and is intended specifically for deployment in rougher waters with strong currents, allowing the use of so far unutilized areas for fish farming. The platform’s steel walls will be solid to a depth of 17 metres, with all operational functionality fully integrated into the structure and giving a total interior tank volume of around 75,000 m3, with a diameter of 67.5 metres and capacity for more than 600,000 fish. Adjustable openings in the hull will allow continuous throughput of fresh and oxygen-rich water, using pumps at times of weaker current and additional oxygen on demand. The base and openings will be covered with a grid of rust-free steel netting.

Fit for purpose

During the design and verification phase a lot of effort, including fluid dynamics analyses and extensive model testing, has gone into developing a fish farming unit that is fit for purpose with equipment integrated to withstand the harsh conditions and ensure fish welfare.

Comprehensive studies have also been conducted to identify the biological parameters for water quality in a semi-closed unit containing a large amount of biomass.

The design reduces the risk of fish escaping and that of sea lice and other waterborne infections through shielding the fish from the upper water mass and a shorter production cycle of 10 to 11 months. Efficient handling of harvest-ready fish as well as control and management of the growing environment, including light and underwater feeding, will contribute to improved biological performance and growth. VARD is now verifying the design through detailed engineering in order to quality assure the technical solutions.

Being involved in this project means a lot to our team at VARD. Aquaculture is fast-growing industry and a key contributor to a sustainable Blue Ocean economy today and in the future. It’s exciting to use our combined multidisciplinary knowledge to adapt and evolve technology that pushes the boundary of what’s possible. An important aspect is working with collaborators and finding the best possible solutions in concert with them. We believe we have the capacity and experience to bring the Aqua Semi concept into reality,” said senior naval architect Thomas Olsvik in VARD’s Conceptual Design division.

Aqua Semi for quote

An important aspect is working with collaborators and finding the best possible solutions in concert with them. We believe we have the capacity and experience to bring the Aqua Semi concept into reality.

– Senior Naval Architect Thomas Olsvik in VARD’s Conceptual Design division

Advanced live fish carrier design

In terms of aquaculture service vessels, our VARD 8 50 design was developed to transport live salmon, trout and other farmed fish species and contains technology that meets the latest demands for fish health, efficient and environmentally-friendly operations and crew safety. A great reference is the live fish carrier ‘Inter Barents’ delivered for operation by global wellboat specialist Intership in 2018. In 2020, it was fitted with de-licing capabilities at our shipyard Vard Søviknes and it is featured at our stand at the Aqua Nor trade show.

Inter Barents 2

Photo: Frode Adolfsen

At Vard Aqua we supply a broad range of fish-farming equipment and solutions both for land- and sea-based operations that ensure more sustainable and safer net-side operations and stronger fish performance and welfare. Our solutions enable everything from water quality and environmental monitoring, accurate feeding systems for land-based farming and hatcheries, oxygen generators and diffusors, biomass measurement and Exact Cloud control systems for seamless data collection, integration and control of various equipment on your sea- or land-based operations. To read more go to Vard Aqua's website by clicking here.

“The Aqua Semi concept is in line with VARD’s strategy to develop new products and solutions for sustainable food production at sea, as much of the food needed to feed the world’s growing population will come from the seas. The power of innovation that lie with our employees and in the Norwegian aquaculture cluster is important for a sustainable development of the aquaculture industry”, said EVP Sales & Marketing Magne Håberg.

The VARD team looks forward to meeting you at Aqua Nor. We wish you all safe travels.