UK Government Minister visits ‘green’ salmon hatchery

©ScottishSeaFarms David Duguid visit

Salmon grower Scottish Sea Farms and green energy partner AMP Clean Energy hosted a visit from UK Government Minister for Scotland David Duguid – part of a day-long tour to Argyll and Bute to see the progress being made towards becoming a net zero nation.

Together with senior figures from Scottish Renewables,Minister Duguid – who is a keen advocate of a green energy transition that works towards the UK Government’s net zero commitments while creating and protecting skilled jobs – was given a one-hour tour of the salmon grower’s new £58M Barcaldine Hatchery near Oban in Argyll and Bute.

Amongst the green technologies in operation was the hatchery’s 600kw biomass energy system, thought to deliver the biggest CO2 savings of any renewable heat source. 

Owned, installed and maintained by AMP Clean Energy, the system uses locally sourced, sustainably managed wood chip to provide the 17,500 sqm building with much of its heat and hot water, saving 683 tonnes of carbon a year compared with using oil. That’s the equivalent of six million road miles per year by car.

Also on show was the facility’s recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). Specially designed to give farmed fish the best possible growing experience by giving salmon farmers much greater control over the key growth factors of water quality, oxygen levels, temperature, speed of flow and light, RAS technology offers several environmental benefits too. 

This includes the ability to: 

  • Circulate, clean and recirculate up to 98 per cent of freshwater used per day, equating to a saving of over 20 times the freshwater consumption of conventional hatchery methods
  • Capture waste material from the growing cycle (primarily fish faeces and any uneaten feed) for treatment and re-purposing as nutrient-rich agricultural fertiliser to aid crop development
  • Maintain a more constant water temperature, significantly reducing the energy needed to heat or cool water
  • Adjust temperature where necessary via heat pumps and heat exchangers – more energy-efficient alternatives to traditional kerosene boilers or electric chillers, with the added ability to recover heat from waste-water for re-use.

These efficiencies are further complemented elsewhere in the building by motion-sensor internal lighting and wind and solar powered external lighting, with provision for a hydro scheme so that hatchery can generate more energy in a greener way.

Minister Duguid said: “I’ve been so impressed at the green approach of this state-of-the-art facility. Scottish Sea Farms’ water-saving and waste-recycling measures, coupled with the use of AMP Clean Energy’s environmentally-sound biomass heating system, prove that it is possible to forge ahead in innovation to sustain the sector while still meeting our net zero objectives.

“The UK Government has ambitious climate commitments and it’s by embracing measures such as these and accelerating decarbonisation that industry will be future-proofed to protect and create jobs.”

Leading the tour was Scottish Sea Farms Head of Sustainability Anne Anderson who said: “Like any food producer, we’re working hard to minimise any impact from our activities on the environment, not just via our new Barcaldine Hatchery but across the business: from our marine farms to our processing and packing facilities, through to essential support services such as IT and logistics. It has been a pleasure offering Minister Duguid a glimpse into some of the many initiatives underway.”

Bruno Berardelli, Head of Asset Services at AMP Clean Energy, added: “We’re proud to have worked in partnership with Scottish Sea Farms to fund, develop, own and operate a brand new low carbon heat installation at their Barcaldine Hatchery. This sustainable solution is a perfect example of how biomass heat can support net zero food production. It is a truly local project too, taking advantage of locally sourced wood chip and supported by the expert team at our Fort William office.”

Also included in the day-long Ministerial tour were visits to pumped storage hydro-electric Cruachan Power Station and the Scottish Association for Marine Science, followed by a meeting with representatives of the Community Inshore Fisheries Alliance, Clyde Fishermen’s Association and Fishermen’s Trust Infrastructure Project.

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