Kaeser brings spe­cialised prod­ucts to spe­cialised ap­pli­ca­tions

Fish Farmer - - Contents – Editor’s Welcome -

Im­pres­sive com­pres­sor

Kaeser Kom­pres­soren is a fam­ily owned Ger­man com­pany that cel­e­brates its 100th birth­day this year. Kaeser com­pres­sors and blow­ers are renowned through­out the world for their high qual­ity, out­stand­ing re­li­a­bil­ity and ex­cep­tional en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

With its com­pre­hen­sive net­work of branches and dis­trib­u­tors, Kaeser Kom­pres­soren has a world­wide ser­vice or­gan­i­sa­tion that also cov­ers all re­gions where aqua­cul­ture is prac­tised.

Kaeser claims to be the num­ber one com­pressed air part­ner for aqua­cul­ture ap­pli­ca­tions and tech­nol­ogy.

Salmon aqua­cul­ture is the boom­ing seg­ment of the food in­dus­try. Profit mar­gins are high, as is con­sumer de­mand. This has led to the in­creas­ing use of tech­nol­ogy by the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try, much of which re­lies on the use of com­pressed air.

Salmon feed­ing has al­ready been a pneu­matic pro­ce­dure for more than 12 years, whereby the feed is di­rected from the feed silo into the pens by a low-pres­sure air stream. This tried-andtested tech­nique is now lead­ing to feed barges

be­ing de­signed with ma­chine rooms be­side the feed si­los, in which the blow­ers can be housed to pro­tect them from the out­side el­e­ments.

In re­cent years, higher pres­sure com­pressed air ap­pli­ca­tions have in­creas­ingly found their way into the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try. Op­er­at­ing in the 7 bar range, com­pres­sors – either diesel or elec­tric pow­ered – are used to pro­vide the com­pressed air for such tasks as re­mov­ing dead fish from the pens (morts re­moval), or to raise the level of oxy­gen in the sea pens, a pro­ce­dure known as ‘sea pen aer­a­tion’ (SPA).

Prior to this in­no­va­tion, divers had to be dis­patched to the pens to man­u­ally place the dead fish in bas­kets, which then had to be lifted out of the water by hand. Now, us­ing com­pressed air to do the job in­stead, a cone is in­stalled in the deep­est part of the sea pens. This is con­nected to a tube through which com­pressed air is blown, forc­ing the dead fish up from the bot­tom of the pen to the top, ow­ing to the ‘air­lift pump’ prin­ci­ple.

Here, they are sep­a­rated from the water so that the staff can as­sess the con­di­tion of the car­casses and con­duct sta­tis­ti­cal analy­ses on them. This is far quicker and less labour in­ten­sive than the pre­vi­ously used man­ual ap­proach, and re­moval of the car­casses sooner rather than later also helps pre­vent the spread of dis­ease.

A re­cent fur­ther de­vel­op­ment is to ex­tract fae­cal mat­ter in the same way. This con­cept is al­ready be­ing tested in closed pens on trial farms and could be used in fu­ture in ar­eas where both water qual­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact are of key con­cern.

One of the most im­por­tant uses for com­pressed air in aqua­cul­ture is SPA, a process whereby com­pressed air is blown into the pens through dif­fusers. As bub­bles rise to the sur­face, a gas ex­change takes place between the water and the gases in the bub­bles, rais­ing the oxy­gen lev­els in the water. Even more im­por­tantly, it re­sults in an

ar­ti­fi­cial up­welling,

which forces oxy­gen rich, cold water from deeper down in the water col­umn up into the pens.

This has sev­eral ef­fects: firstly, be­cause colder, deep waters can hold more oxy­gen, the oxy­gen lev­els in the pens are raised.

This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant in the sum­mer months, when en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors such as al­gal blooms can be a ma­jor con­cern.

Cold, deep waters also mit­i­gate the ef­fects of tem­per­a­ture peaks, which are danger­ous for the salmon and have be­come in­creas­ingly com­mon dur­ing the sum­mer months in re­cent years.

A fur­ther ef­fect of the up­welling is that, thanks to the water at the up­per lev­els flow­ing out­wards, less of the oxy­gen poor sur­face water enters the pens. More­over, al­gae drift­ing in up­per water lay­ers are kept out of the sea pens by the out­wards flow.

This ef­fect is most im­por­tant dur­ing al­gae blooms, pre­vent­ing the al­gae from reach­ing the salmon.

The SPA con­cept de­scribed above is used most com­monly in Canada and Nor­way.

In other coun­tries, such as Chile or Scot­land, bub­ble cur­tains are the usual method for pro­tect­ing the fish from swarms of jel­ly­fish (Scot­land) and al­gal blooms (Chile).

In the past, these two blights have been re­spon­si­ble for wip­ing out en­tire fish stocks in some farms and have caused dam­age in the mil­lions.

Such com­pres­sor ap­pli­ca­tions are com­pletely new, so most feed barges have nowhere to house the as­so­ci­ated nec­es­sary equip­ment.

This means that the com­pres­sors tend either to be in­stalled at the farms them­selves, or on rafts built es­pe­cially to ac­com­mo­date them.

Com­pres­sors with elec­tric drive mo­tors are usu­ally housed within a con­tainer, whereas diesel-pow­ered com­pres­sors are gen­er­ally left ex­posed to the el­e­ments. Both types of com­pres­sor, how­ever, were de­signed for use on land; the harsh con­di­tions found at sea, with con­stant ex­po­sure to salt­wa­ter, were not part of the de­sign brief.

This weak link in the de­sign chain has led to pre­ma­ture prob­lems oc­cur­ring with com­pres­sor op­er­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly un­der the tough op­er­at­ing con­di­tions as­so­ci­ated with mar­itime use.

How­ever, com­pres­sors are es­sen­tial to pro­tect farms against such ex­is­ten­tial threats as jel­ly­fish swarms, al­gal blooms or other po­ten­tially crit­i­cal dan­gers in an emer­gency. For this rea­son, down­time due to fail­ure of the elec­tri­cal sys­tem, for ex­am­ple, is un­ac­cept­able and op­er­a­tional re­li­a­bil­ity is para­mount.

It was Thomas Kaeser him­self, chair­man of the board at Kaeser Kom­pres­soren, who recognised the spe­cial needs of the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try and there­fore com­mis­sioned Adrian Feiler, an aqua­cul­ture spe­cial­ist, to ex­am­ine the spe­cific is­sues at hand.

The com­pany sub­se­quently spent 2018 be­com­ing in­tensely ac­quainted with the aqua­cul­ture sec­tor.

It looked at the prob­lems com­pres­sors face in this dif­fi­cult op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ment, an­a­lysed the key aqua­cul­ture mar­kets and li­aised closely with fish farm­ers and plant hire com­pa­nies.

Equipped with this knowl­edge, Kaeser Kom­pres­soren was able to de­velop the first pro­to­type of a com­pres­sor that was de­signed specif­i­cally for use in the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try.

In­tro­duced to the world at the AquaSur 2018 trade fair in Chile, this ground break­ing in­no­va­tion was built to with­stand mar­itime en­vi­ron­ments and to en­sure max­i­mum op­er­a­tional re­li­a­bil­ity.

Through con­tin­u­ous con­sul­ta­tion with end cus­tomers, this pro­to­type has been fur­ther re­fined so that Kaeser Kom­pres­soren can now of­fer a com­pres­sor con­fig­u­ra­tion which de­liv­ers even greater re­li­a­bil­ity un­der the harsh con­di­tions that go hand-in-hand with aqua­cul­ture ap­pli­ca­tions.

This, in com­bi­na­tion with in­creased com­pres­sor ser­vice life, means that plant hire com­pa­nies and fish farm­ers alike can en­joy the sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tages that Kaeser com­pressed air so­lu­tions have to of­fer.

For more de­tails on Kaeser Kom­pres­soren, visit www.kaeser.com

“Kaeser can now of­fer a com­pres­sor con­fig­u­ra­tion which de­liv­ers even greater re­li­a­bil­ity un­der the harsh con­di­tions that go hand-in­hand with aqua­cul­ture on” ap­pli­cati

Clockwise from left: Pro­to­type of the diesel pow­ered KAESER M 50 in­clud­ing aqua­cul­ture mod­i­fi­ca­tions; the pic­ture shows the sep­a­ra­tion of car­casses and water in the morts re­moval process; op­er­at­ing prin­ci­ple of the SPA sys­tem (photo: Pen­tair Aquatic EcoSys­tems); a Sea Pen Aer­a­tion sys­tem in full op­er­a­tion at a salmon farm site. Note the four plumes of aer­a­tion in­side each pen (photo: Pen­tair Aquatic EcoSys­tems)

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