A new and accurate forecasting system will help farmers to make the wisest decisions, particularly in sites which routinely face stormy weather conditions.
A feedboat delivering 500 tonnes of feed in a stiff breeze, with high waves and strong currents. A wellboat moored to catch a squid on a cold winter day. Can this be possible?
These are two examples of issues that a groundbreaking new system, consisting of advanced software, various sensors, multiple communication boxes, and a new sensor buoy to monitor and forecast, is set to address. Backing the project are four companies: Leroy, Multiconsult, Norut and AKVA group.
The product is called ‘Akva safe guard’, and it’s being launched during the AquaNor fair in Trondheim this week.
“Developments in the aquaculture industry, with larger units and more exposed locations, combined with larger vessels and increasingly complicated work operations, create an obvious need for good decision-making tools,” says Ole H. Strommesen of Leroy Aurora.
“Around aquaculture facilities there are varying weather, wind and power conditions, and these are very important factors in terms of the work operations to be performed. Akva safe guard is a system that tells how conditions have been, how they are right now, and not least, how conditions will be in near future,” Leroy’s Executive Vice President, Stig Nilsen, tells SalmonBusiness.
“We have been working on this for five years, allowing us to make the step from experience-based to fact-based operation management at aquaculture facilities. Precise information provides a safer basis for the decision to initiate or interrupt a work operation – not just based on experience and gut feeling,” says Nilsen.
Leroy has already used this at some of its most weathered locations in Troms.
“AKVA group found the technology interesting. We ran the concept at five sites belonging to Leroy Aurora. With its use we have increased safety, provided a safer environment for our employees, and reduced wear and tear on our facilities. The system is also important in terms of optimized mooring, especially at exposed locations. Our experience so far is that the tool is performing very well,” says Nilsen.
“It’s a groundbreaking collaboration that provides value for Leroy, and we hope we get the whole industry behind us. AKVA group will get the product out and put it to work by utilizing the resources of Norut and Multiconsult.
“In view of our part as a supplier, it is natural to include a new software component. It fits like a hand in a glove,” says AKVA group’s Morten Malm.
Weather data, power conditions, loadings at the aquaculture plant and so on are read in real-time, while providing a safe forecast in advance.
“It is also prepared for big data,” commented project manager Edmond Hansen of Multiconsult.
Multiconsult has led the project and developed the modules for environmental monitoring, weather and power forecasts and loads in the plant, while Norut has developed communication and user interfaces.
“Norut has a strong focus on the use of drones,” says Norut’s Njal Borch, and adds:
“It’s the same technology platform that is at the bottom of drones: technology adapted to the wide variety of missions. You can get the information you need – when you need it.
“The user interface is adapted to the different work operations at the aquaculture facilities, for example, during delousing, people working on the cage-sides will be interested in knowing power, oxygen levels and wind power,” continues Borch.
“The system also includes a newly developed sensor buoy that we have made in collaboration with Partner Plast. We have prepared the way for 4G and 5G when it comes. At the moment, we’re using WIFI,” AKVA Group’s Director of Technology, Trond Severinsen, adds.
“Over the past five years, we have spent millions of dollars. Innovation Norway has also been involved in funding. It has costed several millions, but I am sure we have created a product that will generate millions more for the Norwegian aquaculture industry,” says Nilsen.
“We also see significant international potential. We will install this at Leroy’s 25 most challenging locations, and we hope that it will be used by the whole industry eventually,” says Morten Malm.