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American Aquafarms signs energy-from-sludge agreement

Stig Amdam, sales manager at Hyperthermics, and Mikael Rønes, chief executive of Atlantic Aquafarms. Photo: Hyperthermics AS.
Stig Amdam, sales manager at Hyperthermics, and Mikael Rønes, chief executive of Atlantic Aquafarms. Photo: Hyperthermics AS.

American Aquafarms, which plans to grow 30,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon in floating closed pens in Maine has signed an agreement with Norwegian company Hyperthermics AS for the design of a plant to create energy and fertiliser from sludge collected from the enclosures.

Sludge will be separated in treatment plants at the pens and transported by barge to land, where it will be processed in the Hyperthermics plant.

Hyperthermics uses extremophiles - bio-organisms from heat sources such as hydrothermal vents, volcanoes, and oil wells – to convert organic waste into renewable energy such as biogas and protein mass in what it says is a significantly shorter time than other solutions.

A prominent showcase

“We have had good discussions with American Aquafarms over time,” said Hyperthermics sales manager Stig Amdam.

“I am very impressed by their vision for sustainable salmon farming, along with their interest in our technology. We believe that it will be an essential contribution to greener aquaculture.

“For us, this agreement is important. The aquaculture industry is taking big steps in the green direction in more and more countries, and the project will be a prominent showcase for us in a new continent.”

American Aquafarms chief executive Mikael Rønes said: “As we target to produce the most sustainable salmon at sea, utilising the sludge from pens is crucial. Along with emission-free farming at sea, transforming the sludge into renewable energy contributes to more sustainable activities in our smolt production and the processing plant on land.”

Gouldsboro moratorium

The company has an agreement to buy a lobster processing facility in the town of Gouldsboro and intends to build a hatchery and processing facility on the site.

But its plans for 30 pens spread across two sites in Frenchman Bay have attracted some local opposition, and the Bangor Daily News (BDN) this week reported that Gouldsboro was considering blocking development of any new large-scale aquaculture development for 180 days. This would give the town time to review and possibly amend its land use ordinances to ensure the town’s development regulations are adequate for protecting the “the quality of life and the health and safety of town residents”.

The proposal also aimed to ensure the development does not have an undue burden on the town’s infrastructure and resources such as water supplies, roads, and public safety departments, reported the BDN.