From left: Fjord Maritime chief commercial officer Oyvind Bakke, sales and marketing manager Torstein Nygaard and chief executive Vidar Rabben at the Gael Force stand at Aquaculture UK. Photo: FFE.

On the charge: hybrid supplier targets every feed barge in Scotland

Norwegian company Fjord Maritime, which supplied the battery technology for Inverness aquaculture supplier Gael Force’s first hybrid power feed barge, is to open an office in Scotland.

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And the company is aiming to sell 20 hybrid power systems in the UK this year, with a longer-term ambition to supply retrofit systems to all generator-run feed barges in use in Scotland.

Fjord Maritime sales and marketing manager Torstein Nygaard said the company had so far sold 128 hybrid-power systems for feed barges, mostly in Norway and some in Canada. Around 100 are now operational, and the rest are being installed at a rate of two a week.

A big ambition

The first Gael Force hybrid feed barge was delivered to Cooke Aquaculture Scotland last month, and Nygaard is expecting many more orders. Installation work will be carried out in conjunction with Gael Force.

“We have established a company in the UK and have had quite a lot of interest in our products,” said the marketing manager, who was speaking to Fish Farming Expert at the Aquaculture UK trade show in Aviemore.

“Our target this year is for a minimum of 20 installations in the UK. Our ambition is to install our Fjord Hybrid solution on each barge that runs on generators in the UK sector. It is a big ambition but a necessary one.

55% fuel saving

“The reduction (in fuel use and emissions) you can achieve by installing a hybrid is needed. You are reducing fuel consumption by 55% which can lead to a reduction of greenhouse gases by 168 tonnes for one barge for one year on average. That’s the equivalent of taking 80 cars off the road.”

Nygaard said Fjord Maritime’s focus was to provide secure power for fish farm sites, but it was also gathering a huge amount of data from installations and using the knowledge acquired to help farmers reduce their power use even further.

“You are not feeding 24/7 on a barge but still need energy. We monitor all of our operation all the time for enable energy optimisation. Instead of using underfloor heating, fans, etc., when they are not necessary, we are seeing that we can reduce operational expenditure by 20-30% after installation.”

Net zero

Fjord Maritime is in the process of employing someone for its UK office, which is likely to be in the Fort William area.

“We are in the UK for the long term,” said Nygaard. “Our wish is go be net zero, and the Fjord Hybrid is the start. When solar, wind, wave and hydrogen are ready commercially, we can adapt the existing systems.”

Fjord Maritime produces its own Fjord Energy-brand batteries, which are lithium-based, and do not contain cobalt. The batteries can be recycled at the end of their life.