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Fish farmer to use heat-loving bacteria to upcycle smolt sludge

Hyperthermics chief executive Erlend Haugsbø, left, and  Hofseth project director Knut Eilert Røsvik shake hands on the agreement at the recent BlueFish trade fair in Ålesund, Norway.
Hyperthermics chief executive Erlend Haugsbø, left, and Hofseth project director Knut Eilert Røsvik shake hands on the agreement at the recent BlueFish trade fair in Ålesund, Norway.

Norwegian fish farmer Hofseth Aqua has chosen Hyperthermics AS to provide a sludge management solution for an expanded land-based smolt plant in Tafjord, in Møre og Romsdal county.

Hyperthermics has developed biotechnology based on the use of extremophiles - hyperthermophile bio-bacteria that live in extreme environments like hot springs near submarine volcanoes and other naturally heated sources - to boost the efficiency of conversion of organic material into biogas and protein.

The smolt plant will verify Hyperthermics’ system for converting sludge from closed farming into commercial quality products. Hyperthermics said it is now working specifically on several significant projects within land-based farming and closed farming in the sea. Hofseth’s giant project World Heritage Salmon – a 100,000 tonne salmon farm in a disused olivine mine - is one of these.

New value chains

Knut Eilert Røsvik, project director of Hofseth International AS, hopes to see new value chains for sludge during the verification phase in Tafjord.

“The Hofseth Group has a high focus on utilising resources in the best possible way, both when it comes to getting the most food out of the fish we produce and doing this in as energy-efficient and intelligent a way as possible,” Røsvik said in a press release.

“Hyperthermics’ solutions are innovative and future oriented. The company will be an essential partner for us in the work of building a circular sustainable aquaculture industry.”

Commercial breakthrough

Hyperthermics chief executive Erlend Haugsbø said the Tafjord agreement was a breakthrough for the company’s commercial efforts in land-based aquafarming.

“The aquaculture industry makes considerable investments to become greener,” added Haugsbø. “With our biotechnology, we will contribute to solving an environmental problem by making the waste into high-quality products, and the verification in Tafjord will open up great opportunities for us. More and more land-based and closed fish farms are built worldwide, and environmental requirements are tightened in most countries.”

The smolt plant will be ready for start-up in the first quarter of 2023.