The vision of RAS 4.0 is to use a suit of sensors for measuring fish biology, water quality, and equipment performance in real time, to optimise the operation of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) through interconnected control loops. The main barriers for reaching this vision are a lack of reliable sensors to measure key parameters, and a lack of models describing the dynamic relationships between them. All these elements interact through complex biological/chemical/physical mechanisms which are not fully understood.
The main objective of RAS 4.0 is to improve fish wellbeing and the production efficiency of RAS and reduce operational risks by developing integrated control systems for water quality, feeding and energy optimisation. The control systems will be based on novel sensors, data integration and smart algorithms that combine biological, environmental, and operational factors.
Initial work focused on the establishment of a digital infrastructure for the project that includes different water quality sensors, data standards, data platforms and their integration. We have evaluated commercially available infrastructure for monitoring of relevant water quality parameters and vision sensors for underwater use. The work on the digital twin for RAS has resulted in the first version of a simplified demo that will be further developed as the project progresses.
The RAS 4.0 project will create highly valuable knowledge that can be used by aquaculture and industry suppliers working to maximise the sustainability of these operations. Realising the potential of RAS will reduce the pressure to increase production in the sea and secure increased investment in this important, potentially environmentally sustainable solution to fish production.
RAS 4.0 is a 4-year project with Nofima as a project owner and NORCE, UiT, the Arctic University of Norway, Searis, CreateView, Krüger Kaldnes, OxyGuard and Lerøy Seafood group as partners.
The world is searching for sustainable solutions to produce healthy food. Aquaculture has been tasked to meet this demand. Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) have many sustainability advantages over open sea cages e.g. no interaction with wild fish, reduced water use and collection of waste. However, the potential of RAS to alleviate the demand for healthy fish is hindered by reoccurring unpredictable production losses, high costs and operational risk. While digitalisation and automation are on the forefront of priorities to improve production efficiency and reduce the environmental impacts of aquaculture, no production system has the same potential to exploit these enabling technologies as RAS. New automated approaches, making use of sensors and control algorithms, are required to realise the sustainability potential of RAS. The RAS 4.0 project brings together a multidisciplinary team to produce balanced and bio-inspired control loops on the most critical operations, namely water quality, feeding efficiency and energy optimisation. These loops will be integrated into a digital twin that will focus on optimising RAS performance and will be validated during RAS operations. The project utilises the expertise of industry partners established technologies and expertise from sensor, data standards and integration. Together with leading research partners in RAS technology, fish physiology, behaviour, welfare, machine learning, data analytics, smart cameras and computer vision they will work to develop smart digital approaches that seamlessly connect and optimise the physical, digital, and biological world. The RAS 4.0 project will create highly valuable knowledge that can be used by aquaculture and industry suppliers working to maximise the sustainability of these operations. Realising RAS potential will reduce the pressure to increase production in the sea and secure increased investment in this important environmentally sustainable solution to fish production.