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E!10592 Demonstration and validation of a novel approach to European lobster aquaculture

Alternative title: Demonstrasjon og verifisering av teknologi for landbasert produksjon av hummer i RAS

Awarded: NOK 5.7 mill.

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Project Period:

2016 - 2018

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The aim of the Devaela project was to develop and validate an automation system in order to establish the first ever commercial and profitable land-based farm producing high-quality European lobster at commercial scale in RAS. The Devaela system that was developed facilitated a compact and flexible production design, with a very high production yield per square meter floor area using 3D structure (m3). Thus, the project started as a predesigned technology project with the aim of producing and validating technology for land-based production of European lobsters. During work pack 1, the DEVAELA team aligned the new technology and altered the scope of the project as reported in 2016. The new rig now consisted of rows of cages and a robot serving them individually from rails above the cages. The robot had automated movement, cameras and an area in the middle reserved for the feeding robot. This new way of tending to the lobsters, increased the efficiency and also increased the number of lobsters per cubic meter in the facility. The new modes of operation for the robot also meant new ways of programming and executing the tasks, so the whole physique and programming was done accordingly. While the new technology was installed, tested, matured and validated, we engaged in developing a new feeding robot specially designed and engineered to the physical structure of the robot and the specific needs of the lobsters. Throughout WP2, the team cooperated in adapting the new robot so it would fit the new rig and incorporating all the tasks and requirements to the robot. The robot was tested at our Danish partner`s lab facilities in Odense before accepted and sent to Norway for in-situ testing with live lobsters. Parallel to these tasks, we sought the market for an off-the-shelf feeding technology that could fit this new rig and robot (WP 4). This gave no results and we had to revise our approach on how to solve this task. During the project`s development, it became evident that it was difficult to develop a feeding robot with such high accuracy in both feeding dosage and high demand for capacity requirements to make the feeding robot commercial applicable. On the other hand, the Norwegian partner developed and build several prototypes from scratch, and tried to adapt off-the-shelf units to our requirements. Within the timeline and scope of the Devaela project, we did not end up with a satisfying end result. However, this work continues post project and is still a highly prioritized mission. The robot was installed a camera system with a corresponding image harvesting program (WP 3) in order to process images and interpret production information data out of the pictures harvested by the robot (growth, mortality, moulting, harvesting time, etc). The project was successful in capturing pictures in the lab in Odense, but the project experienced some challenges in- situ in Norway. Reflections and clarity in the pixel frame were unsatisfactory, so efforts to reduce reflections was done successfully. The image clarity was only depending the quality and price level of the cameras. A high-quality monitoring system from Neptune System´s Apex model was installed. This system fulfilled the requirements and kept water quality within acceptable levels at all time. In addition, the complete technology setup was installed with a tailored water treatment facility at Aspøy including header tank, UV, micro screen filters and the possibility to use RAS with biofilters. The in-situ testing was initiated in the final stage of the project duration. We started the tests after the assembly of the production facility was completed (WP5). Before live lobsters were put into the system, we ran water through the system in order to stabilize water quality and secure that all components worked individually and together. Then, we ran some dry tests with rubber lobsters (toys) in the water to see that the robot was performing as planned. This was validated successfully, so 90 live lobsters were thereafter put in individual cages for a 7 months testing period. The cage design was documented through logging of water quality, water flow- and exchange inside the cages, self-cleaning hydraulic effect, living space and animal welfare. End result was very promising, and gave sufficient results to start upscaling of farm infrastructure (cages). The overall design and single components in the Devaela project functioned satisfactory. But in order to scale up to commercial levels, the cages need to be installed in multiple layers. Although the structure of a commercial setup will be based on the end results of Devaela, a fully automated commercial farm will have different requirements for water ways and robot functions since this represents movement in all 3 dimensions. The Devaela project provided us with a boost and enables us to move towards TRL9 with an industrial prototype.


DEVAELA skal opprette og verifisere et landbasert anlegg med resirkulering av vann for produksjon av porsjonshummer på land. Vi videreutvikle systemet fra Norwegian Lobster Farm og sammen med Blue Ocean Robotics og Norsk Hummer skal vi lage et helautomatisk anlegg for høyintensiv produksjon av høykvalitets hummer. Anlegget vil være billig å produsere og drive siden det ikke er avhengig at et større basseng å stå i og robotløsningen gjør at antall årsverk blir lavt. Robotiseringen tillater også foring og obervasjon av hver enkelt hummer på et daglig intervall og overvåkningen gir oss innsikt i vekstrater og kvaliteter de enkelte hummerene har slik at stamdyr kan avles frem.

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