June 15, 2022

Using Marine Energy to Power Offshore Aquaculture

New report takes a comprehensive look at offshore aquaculture as a market for marine energy

Aerial view of offshore aquaculture

A new report out from Ocean Energy Systems investigates opportunities to use marine energy technology to supply offshore aquaculture energy needs. 

(Photo by Dudits | istockphoto.com)

Marine energy from ocean waves, tides, and currents offers a promising path to power offshore aquaculture. In a new report published by the International Energy Agency – Ocean Energy Systems, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers and their collaborators conducted a comprehensive review of the opportunities for using marine energy to support offshore aquaculture facilities that cultivate certain marine species in the ocean, including salmon and other finfish.

The authors outlined how specific marine energy technologies could be integrated with offshore aquaculture systems to meet operational energy demands created by vessels, feeding, water circulation, and other activities. Instead of using diesel fuel, renewable marine energy sources like ocean waves could provide the needed energy. The approach has the added benefit of co-locating aquaculture and marine energy infrastructure, cutting down on fuel transportation, which is an important consideration in marine spatial planning and sustainable marine development.

In the report, researchers outlined the specific operational energy needs of different aquaculture industries, economic considerations, regulatory processes, and technical challenges facing the integration of marine energy with aquaculture. Taking a deep dive into 12 case studies from around the globe, the authors reviewed lessons learned from offshore aquaculture projects that have already used marine, solar, offshore wind, or hybrid solutions to meet their energy demands. 

The report provides valuable insight into the opportunities and challenges facing marine energy integration with offshore aquaculture, which could provide solutions for more efficient, sustainable food production and use of ocean resources.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Mikaela Freeman, a marine science and policy analyst, and Lysel Garavelli, a biological oceanographer, authored the report along with partners at the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and OceanPixel Pte. Ltd., with support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office and Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre.

For more information, see the Ocean Energy Systems news release, watch a recorded webinar featuring Freeman and Garavelli, or read the full report.