Development of Smart and Sustainable Aeration Technology

During the past several decades, overfishing has made wild capture fisheries unsustainable. As an alternative, aquaculture has grown rapidly with an average annual rate of 8.7% since 1970 [1]. In the Asia-Pacific region, over 18 million people engage in fish and prawn farming [2], the majority of which are individual entrepreneurs or families who manage small-scale farms and produce a modest yield for their livelihood. Furthermore, these people also reside in remote rural areas where there are fewer alternatives for employment and income. As a result, aquaculture plays an essential component as a rural development strategy addressing food security and growth especially for low-income households in the region.

Commercial fish and prawn farms consume a large amount of energy, thereby increasing the costs to sustain such farms. Among all components of aquaculture, aeration is the largest source of energy consumption and cost. To maximize yield and survivability of the stock, many farmers use aerators to eliminate the possibility of oxygen deprivation in the farm. Unfortunately, this method is very costly and highly energy intensive. With a smart control strategy of their device, a farm can optimize the use of the aerator based on current levels of oxygen in the water, resulting in a large percentage of energy and cost savings.

Additionally, with many farmers residing in areas lacking in electrification, the use of such devices poses a problem. The use of renewable energy resources for aeration can significantly reduce electricity costs, carbon emissions, and improve the sustainability of the industry. As such, integration of renewable technologies and a smart feedback device can provide farmers with real-time information about their farms, allowing them to perform needed interventions to their ponds as needed to maximize their production and yield. Providing this enabling technology has the potential to improve the quality of life for those residing in these areas.


Image from: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

 

 

[1] S. Y. D. Sorkhabi, A. Mahmoud, S. Sur, E. Pavlov, and A. Bilton, “Long-Term Performance Estimation of Aquaculture Solar Aeration System for Developing World,” Proc. ASME 2017 Int. Des. Eng. Tech. Conf. Comput. Inf. Eng. Conf., pp. 1–10, 2017.

[2] C. E. Boyd, “Pond water aeration systems,” vol. 18, no. February, pp. 9–40, 1998.