Big Akwa unites land-based trout farming with hydrogen production

The Swedish start-up's innovative fish farm is based on "industrial symbiosis" by utilizing waste heat from a neighbouring green hydrogen plant.
Swedish start-up Big Akwa plans innovative trout farm utilizing "industrial symbiosis". Photo: Adobe Stock.
Swedish start-up Big Akwa plans innovative trout farm utilizing "industrial symbiosis". Photo: Adobe Stock.

Swedish food tech startup Big Akwa has announced it has signed an agreement with Ånge municipality, the owner of new "super green" industrial park Alby Östra, to develop an innovative rainbow trout farm in symbiosis with a neighbouring green hydrogen plant.

Founded in 2020, Big Akwa aims to develop and put into operation innovations in food production "based on industrial symbiosis with process industry". At Alby Östra, this approach sees the aquaculture company planning to make use of waste heat from a hydrogen plant operated by UK company Renewable Energy Systems (RES), using this to warm its fish farm water to optimal temperatures.

"This ensures both faster fish growth and lower energy usage," Big Akwa CEO Elena Petukhovskaya told WeAreAquaculture.

"Our aim is to build a 3000 tonnes-per-year rainbow trout farm that will benefit from industrial symbiosis with a nearby large scale hydrogen plant. The key components of the cooperation will be the use of waste heat and oxygen from the plant in the fish farm," Petukhovskaya explained.

Creating value from waste streams

Both operations will be situated at Alby Östra, a new industry site of 150 hectares outside Ånge, a municipality situated in central Sweden, about 100 km west of the city Sundsvall. The main driver for the new site is its abundance of green electricity sources, clean freshwater and available land.

"RES are very interested in creating innovative solutions that create value from their waste streams," said Petukhovskaya, adding that both companies see the collaboration as "a frontrunner with respect to circular solutions based on industrial symbiosis."

"We aim to create a fish farm with leading sustainability performance, via a very energy efficient production concept," added Petukhovskaya.

In due course, Big Akwa hope to expand their trout farming operations to 6000 tonnes per year, in addition to starting production of protein at the site. The latter, Petukhovskaya says, will utilize nutrients from the fish farm residues together with waste oxygen from the hydrogen plant. The idea is to achieve a resource-efficient and cost-effective production of Single Cell Protein (SCP), primarily to be used as a feed component.

Trout aquaculture is a growing sector, as reports suggest the global trout market will grow by 6.2% in the next five years, driven by aquaculture. Some of the biggest Nordic fish farming companies have moved into trout aquaculture recently, with news Norwegian salmon farming giant Mowi has acquired Scottish trout farms, while Hima Seafood is in the process of building the "world's largest" trout farm in Rjukan, Norway.

About Big Akwa

Big Akwa is a food-tech innovation start-up that economically and environmentally revolutionizes land-based aquaculture by introducing industrial symbiosis between the aquaculture and the industry.

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