Stewart Rendall, North Isles manager for Cooke Aquaculture Scotland’s Orkney sites, left, and site assistant Dean Shearer with the hybrid system that has been retrofitted to the barge now deployed at Vestness, Orkney.

Second hybrid-power feed barge for Cooke Scotland

Salmon farmer has system retrofitted after success of first, purpose-built barge

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Cooke Aquaculture Scotland has deployed a second hybrid-power feed barge, at its Vestness site in Westray, Orkney.

The hybrid power system, which utilises a battery pack charged by a generator, has been installed in a barge that was already in use and is the first retrofit system in Orkney.

Cooke has been using a purpose-built hybrid-power feed barge at its Mill Bay site in Stronsay since last April year.

In its first year, the hybrid barge at Mill Bay has reduced fuel consumption by 40% compared to a non-hybrid barge and cut the site’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Less noise

The battery pack is used as the barge's main power source for an average of more than 20 hours a day, and for the remaining hours the generator takes over the load on the barge, with excess capacity from the generator used to charge the batteries.

Because the generator is only used for four hours a day, the system also results in a quieter working environment for barge personnel and less noise for the neighbouring area.

The feed barge at Vestness will be quieter and more efficient after being fitted with a battery pack.

Stewart Rendall, North Isles Manager for Cooke Aquaculture Scotland’s Orkney sites, said: “This second hybrid system installation at our Vestness barge is a significant investment and one that makes economic and environmental sense.

“Introducing hybrid systems to more of our ocean sites shows our commitment to sustainability. Farm-raised salmon already have the lowest carbon footprint of any animal protein but there is always more we can do to minimise any impact.

“This one barge is expected to achieve carbon savings of approximately 146 Tons of CO2 every year, the equivalent of removing 55 cars from our roads every year.”

Sustainability commitment

The retrofit hybrid system is supplied by Norwegian company Fjord Maritime and fitted by Inverness-based aquaculture supplier Gael Force Group, which also built the 200-tonne capacity SeaMate barge at Mill Bay and installed a Fjord Maritime system on it.

“To invest and upgrade existing barges with green technology that optimises energy production, reduces fuel consumption, reduces noise pollution and reduces GHGs, is sustainability in every way,” said Steve Burns, managing director for Fjord Maritime UK.

“It shows that Cooke continue their sustainability commitment, improving quality, energy optimisation and environmental performance.”

Gael Force sales director Jamie Young said: “Having the capability to retrospectively install hybrid power solutions across our range of concrete and steel feeding barges, like we have done on this occasion, goes a long way to helping fish farmers achieve their aims towards further carbon footprint reduction.”