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ELOXIRAS Report Summary

Project ID: 698494

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ELOXIRAS (Electrochemical Oxidation in the Recirculating Aquaculture Systems Industry)

Reporting period: 2015-12-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

ELOXIRAS®: Boosting Recirculating Aquaculture Industry

Aquaculture industry appears to be an interesting alternative to fulfil the increasing global demand of marine species without spoiling natural resources. The aquaculture production within Europe offered 1.25 million tonnes of aquaculture products in 2013 (Eurostat), 77% of which came from marine areas, 53% from the Atlantic and 24% from the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are emerging as an advantageous technology to provide adequate culture water quality at inland hatchery and growing facilities. Since its introduction, RAS production has increased in volume and species with a compound annual growth rate of 14% per year, and has a worldwide market estimated at €6.4bn.
Although the RAS concept is an advantageous culture process that allows the control of key farming parameters due to semiclosed production circuits, it requires high biomass densities (kg fish/m3 water) to become profitable, which involves two important drawbacks: 1) a wide variety of pollutants as nitrogenous compounds (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate), organic matter and pathogens are generated as a result of fish excretion and decomposition of uneaten feed, implying fast accumulation of toxic metabolised compounds in low water volumes; and 2) limited efficacy in the removal of these compounds by the conventional water treatment processes at present, which requires the exchange of additional water volumes from/to the surrounding media to ensure a suitable water quality in the systems. Consequently, improvement on environmental impact of these activities requires the minimisation of water intake and discharge of treated waste water from/to the media. Therefore, RAS end users require cost-efficient technologies that are able to deal with these key issues to boost their competitiveness. Market conventional water treatment technologies for RAS facilities are mainly based on bio-filtration and ozone, but they present well known limitations to deal with challenging conditions, showing efficacy fluctuations and start-up periods that increase the production stages and their costs. In this sense, electrochemical processes have attracted increasing interest due to their capabilities. Based on electrochemical oxidation technology and an advanced oxidation process (AOP), the Spanish SME APRIA Systems S.L. is upgrading an innovative water treatment concept specially developed to improve the productivity and environmental impact of marine RAS used by the exponentially growing aquaculture industry – Electrochemical Oxidation in the Recirculating Aquaculture Systems Industry (ELOXIRAS:
ELOXIRAS® allows the efficient destruction of all the highly concerned pollutants in RAS, such as total ammonia nitrogen (TAN), nitrite, dissolved organic matter, bacteria and viruses, without the addition of chemicals or heat and with no change in water composition. Uniquely electricity and the catalytic properties of the electrode materials are required to achieve water purification.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Main work carried out by the ELOXIRAS consortium during the first 12 months period has been focused on the next objectives:

Contribution to the industrial-technological objectives: Upgrade ELOXIRAS to operational prototype by optimizing its components, in order to provide the next benefits to the customers:

i) Removal of all key pollutants even when biomass culture densities are high.
ii) Higher productivity.
iii) Flexibility to changeable productivity requirements upon typical volatile market demand.
iv) Lower land and installation requirements that reduces investment costs (compact and modular).
v) Minimization of the payback period of the initial investment.
vi) Increase on Benefits (€/year).

Contribution to the next commercial objectives:

i) To ensure a strategic protection of the new results generated;
ii) Signature of licensing agreements;
iii) Elaboration of adapted marketing materials (webpage, booklets, videos, among others);
iv) Marketing development and direct contacts with business associations, chambers of commerce and local governments (meetings & workshops with representatives & enterprises, among others).

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The novelty of the ELOXIRAS® treatment system is its ability to increase the production of different marine species:
1. Allowing higher cultured densities within the purification controlled limits;
2. Reducing new water intake consumption (and thus, proportional wastewater generation);
3. Removing whole key pollutants in an efficacy way (>90%); and
4. Increasing by a minimum of 30% the estimated potential benefit (€/year) of the overall process.

Besides, ELOXIRAS® presents several characteristics that makes it different from numerous electrochemical processes. In most cases electrochemical oxidation is applied to treat low volumes of water with a high concentration of contaminants.

The next innovative features provide the key points for the market application of ELOXIRAS®:
a) High efficacy and removal of the targeted pollutants, including bacteria and viruses;
b) Compact and modular design;
c) Low energy requirements;
d) Easy to operate with adaptable capacity to required productivity.

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