The start-up created in Portugal acts in the development of innovative equipments with the objective of making aquaculture offshore viable. Nowadays, there are no equipments that can withstand the high energy situations that happen during storms at the open sea. The submergible equipments´solution can fulfil this glaring gap.
The company is looking for partners to establish a manufacturing and/or joint venture and/ or financial agreement.
The company´s submersible feeding, control and command platform is developed at the stage TRL 3 (Technology Readiness Level). The design reflects its suitability for the defined functionalities, its structure has been supported by calculations of buoyancy that allowed to mark its structural dimensioning. The behaviour of different models of the submersible platform have been object of a numerical analysis study to calculate the impacts of the waves at different situations.
The development of the project implies a R&TD designed to characterize, to make structural calculations and to give credibility to these equipments.To the submersible feeding, control and command platform, the program begins with a project plan designed to define rigorously its structure, using adequate structural calculation resources (namely numerical analysis of impact assessment and calculation of finite elements). In this way, the TRL 4 stage is reached. In the next phase, the tests in wave tanks will be carried out at the facilities of a world renowned Norwegian research institution for maritime research with the aim of studying the behaviour of the platform before the simulation of storm situations that can occur in different parts of the world. The conclusions will be considered in the elaboration of the executive project for the construction of the full-scale prototype and the respective mooring project.
In parallel, the design of the entire automation system will be developed. It will operate the platform's routines that command all the manufacturing process, whose activity will be supervised, via radio, by the service´s technician from the company's land-based office. An executive project will be elaborated for the “function distribution area”, that is an area of the platform where various functional equipments are in a scarce space, whose interrelation requires a specific analysis.
In the same period, the project to implement the food consumption compensation bags will be drawn up, which, due to their very particular characteristics, will require a specific approach in the area of the textile production.
And finally, all procurement actions for equipment.Three months are then planned to produce the platform's prototype at full scale. In parallel, the production and acquisition of the necessary equipment for the mooring system is carried out.
The transportation of the various components of the platform follows from their manufacturing locations to the shipyard where it will be assembled. Finally, they are assembled, launched into the sea, towed to the test site and moored. Regarding the submersible fish cage, it is foreseen a preliminary project, eventually a test in a wave tank with the same objectives, followed by the elaboration of the executive project of the prototype at full scale that includes the design of the joints for the cage float tubes and the execution of the corresponding moulds, and also the design of moorings to the seabed.
Two months are then planned for the construction of the prototype of the cage at full scale and for the production and acquisition of the necessary equipment for the mooring system. This is followed by the transportation of the various components of the cage from its manufacturing locations to the shipyard where it will be assembled.
Finally, assembly, launching into the sea, towing to the test site and mooring.The R&TD project also includes a market study and an analysis from the point of view of strategic marketing aimed at guiding the sales effort.
In the present moment, the objective is to deepen the project regarding that equipment in structural and functional terms and the construction of prototypes to be tested in real conditions during storms that occur on the Portuguese coast.
They are looking for partners to join a R&DP project project project that would enable the production of these equipments under a a manufacturing and/or joint venture and/ or financial agreement.
- Specific area of activity of the partner: To establish the profile of the desired partner its necessary to consider the following in order to clarify the context:
The project has the peculiarity to display an enormous potential worth in medium term, that can be quantified, according to a prudent scenery, of about ninety million euros of annual sales, having the possibility to reach this objective without the need of big investments.
In fact, the development of the sales program does not presuppose the hard investment in new industrial plants. The production of the equipments considered, the “submersible feeding, control and command platform” and the “submersible fish cage”, involves the industries of metal mechanics, shipbuilding, pipelines, cables, electronic components, etc., sectors where there are several enterprises that can be called by contract to participate in the production, because they have know-how and installed production capacity to fulfil the needs.
Therefore, the management of the business can be conceived as a question of management of variable costs. That means production, financial and commercial charges affected to each sale order, with a minimum of fixed costs affected to a small structure. However, to reach this situation it is necessary the availability of the product.
Concerning the platform, the project is at the TRL 3 stage. This means that a project plan to reach the TRL 4 stage, where all the structural questions are deeply studied, is needed. Its cost will be about one hundred thousand euros.
The next step is the tests at the wave tank followed, as stated above, by the general project and the specific projects to make it possible to order the production of the real scale prototype. At this stage, all the technical problems are equationated and solved. The cost is difficult to estimate because we must consider several alternatives for the two equipments (platform and cage), namely on concerning the wave tank tests, but as a reference figure can be considered about 1,2 million euros.
The final step is the production of the real scale prototypes and their tests at sea in real conditions in order to prove that the equipments are reliable. The cost is also difficult to estimate but can be about 2,1 million euros.
All these steps can be object of financing leveraged through national and community financing aimed at supporting innovations in the field of the sea economy. For this purpose, paradoxically, the first step can be the most difficult one to finance.
Considering what has been said, the desired partner would be someone that can understand the peculiarity of this project on its facets of potential, risk and, necessary, the way to reach the commercial stage through a R&TD project.
In conclusion, the company is looking for partners with a financing profile but with one approach to the technical reality, namely the sea economy.
They are looking to establish partnerships under a manufacturing and/ or joint venture an
The waves´ energy decreases meaningfully with depth. Therefore, the solution to make feasible the offshore aquaculture is to submerge the fish cages during the storms to proceed fish production, returning to the surface once the sea is calm. By employing submergible equipments, the offshore fish farms can be located without danger at stormy places.
For that purpose, it must be put at the disposal of the fish farmers special equipments that can effectively perform, also during the storms, all the proceedings inherent to this activity. This equipment is the submergible feeding, control and command platform that supplies fish food to the associated cages, collect and transmit production parameters from the cages to the fish farmer’s headquarter (in land), promote its own submersion and that of the associated cages (at about 25 m depth) during a storm and return to the surface with the associated cages once the sea is calm.
The feeding and control equipments, normally named barges, that exist in the market are not able to withstand storm situations. They can only be placed in sheltered areas (fiords and close coves) because they always stay at the surface and they only can resist up to 7,5 m significantly high waves. The sheltered areas are now everywhere almost over engaged and the exploitation of the open sea is a must.
With the proposed new equipments, the offshore aquaculture can be a reality all over the world namely at the tropical and subtropical environments from which we can expect an enormous increase of the fish production that the world really will need in the next decades.
The proposed submergence´s path, is currently the only one that can effectively be put into practice successfully because the practice of submergence for this purpose is protected by an international patent.
Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted,Patents granted - The international patent PCT/PT2017/000012 is registered in all the countries of Europe, and in Morocco, Turkey, Israel, India, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, Canada, USA, Mexico and Brazil. This patent has been carefully designed in order to consider at its core the submergence/ emergence capacity of the platform through the ballasting and de-ballasting chamber and its balance through the compensation bags within each silo as it is stated in the claims and shown in the abstract: The present invention relates to a submersible platform intended to perform the function of feeding distribution, production control and command of the operations inherent to fish farming in submersible cages, which has the ability to submerge under adverse environmental conditions, returning to the surface, once the environmental conditions so do allow it, enabling thereby the fish farming in offshore spaces. For this purpose it comprises a vertical central structure, which constitutes the central core of the platform, around which the upper structure is arranged, which has an outer circulating and mooring space for service vessels, the access to its interior being made through doors and a lower structure, inside which there are ration storage silos as well as insufflation ballasting and de-ballasting central chamber, which allow the submersion and the emersion of the platform, the balance of the platform being ensured by an additional ballasting and de-ballasting arrangement within each silo, to compensate for the weight of the consumed ration.