CORDIS - EU research results

Integrated aquaculture based on sustainable water recirculating system for the Victoria Lake Basin (VicInAqua)

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - VicInAqua (Integrated aquaculture based on sustainable water recirculating system for the Victoria Lake Basin (VicInAqua))

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-05-31

Lake Victoria is a shared water resource between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and the second largest freshwater lake in the world which originally contained some 400 different species. It is of key socio-economic relevance for the region since it supports a population of about 30 million people through large scale fishing, agriculture, local industries, tourism and related activities. Despite its crucial importance, Lake Victoria has suffered since decades the consequences of overexploitation of its resources –mainly of its fish stocks– and alarming pollution. An integral approach for water management providing measures and solutions on water supply and sanitation to adequately respond to both socio-economic and technical challenges is urgently required.
VicInAqua developed innovative multipurpose self-cleaning water filtration solutions adapted for sanitation of different wastewater streams, reused in Recirculation Aquaculture Systems (RAS) and agriculture irrigation. The technological development and demonstration at pilot scale were combined with participative measures for the capacity building of local actors. The VicInAqua solution permits a real-time monitoring and timely response thanks to an integrated efficient and intuitive sensor system. Power supply based on renewable energies adds to the overall solution’s sustainability, combining high performance photovoltaic panels (PV) and a biogas facility (optimal utilisation of surplus sludge) with thermogenerators (TEG). VicInAqua generated a virtuous circle in which the implementation of novel techniques co-exists in harmony with the socio-economic needs of local people while at the same time favouring the observance of rule of law on environmental and biodiversity issues.
Main results achieved:
-Scaled-up polymerisable bicontinuous microemulsions (PBM) self-cleaning membranes used in the pilot membrane bioreactor (MBR). Ruthenium POMs are the most effective catalysts thanks to their higher oxygenic activity. The purified water is suitable for aquaculture and agriculture irrigation.
-Robust, semi-autonomous power supply based on biogas combustion and a combined PV-TEG system, different back-up options and an emergency operation mode to avoid a system shutdown during a power-cut longer than 36h. 40% of autarchy was achieved. Online monitoring enables to compare data with the weather station’s ones.
-Smart sensor based monitoring system enabling water control in real-time, suiting local conditions.
-Awareness raising, capacity building, knowledge transfer and dissemination of exploitable results achieved via 6 more information sessions (4 in Africa, 2 in Europe); 5 study visits of RAS and wastewater treatments plants in Africa; two-week stay and learn programme at European scientific partner organisations for 10 African students; 4 more trainings on VicInAqua solutions; an online, free knowledge exchange platform; 4 more open-access scientific publications; 4 industrial publications; a main event at Innovate 4 Water 2019 addressing investors, scientists, policy-makers and representatives from aquaculture, fisheries and other industries; 26 more participations to events with oral presentations, scientific papers/posters and booths, among which 2 events jointly organised with other H2020 projects; and supportive communication measures.
-Contribution to the development of sustainable economic support instruments and regulatory frameworks in Lake Victoria Basin with reports on a LCA benchmark for sanitation & aquaculture, on health & food security and on future trends; with an Environmental & sustainable Impact Assessment; with 3 round tables on water supply & management which conclusions were gathered in a joint agenda on sustainable wastewater management; and with 3 round tables on gender equality & women in aquaculture resulting in a roadmap for empowering women in the aquaculture sector.
-Roadmap for the project’s Key Exploitable Results.
VicInAqua has developed a tilapia hatchery in Kisumu, Kenya that runs using recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). A handbook with operation and maintenance guidelines and a scaled-up design are available. The hatchery has a capacity to produce 25,000 fingerlings per month to supply pond aquaculture in the area. It is designed as a flexible, scalable and modular system which can be adapted to needs of the operator. The hatchery was completed at the beginning of 2019 and the first fingerlings have been distributed to grow-out farmers.
The VicInAqua pilot site in Kisumu, Kenya will be maintained after project end as a training and demonstration facility by consortium partner DALFD (Department of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries - Kisumu county, Kenya), to support local capacity building and knowledge as well as awareness raising among the population while also providing quality fingerlings to fish farmers.
The fingerlings and the vegetables produced on site will support the operating and maintenance costs as well as the salaries of the technicians working on site.
Furthermore, the consortium has applied for getting the “Solar Impulse foundation label” which, if obtained, will boost VicInAqua solution visibility and credibility. It will help the project to find new potential partners and investors from public and private entities.
VicInAqua developed an integrated sustainable approach combining RAS and domestic wastewater treatment, giving an added value by addressing following issues:
-New RAS technologies improving water savings, sanitation and quality.
-MBR and effective particle filtration: Accumulation of fine suspended solids and colloids in RAS can be avoided by integrating a MBR in the system.
-Self-cleaning membrane materials for MBR achieved by the production of new membrane coatings.
-Novel concept on generation and use of renewable energy. The energy efficiency of the overall solution is increased by solar heated TEG on the PV system and by using the additional heat generated by incineration of biogas produced through co-digestion.
-Knowledge transfer and capacity building at local level.
VicInAqua novel solutions are conceived as a tailored-made response to local sanitation and water supply needs of Lake Victoria inhabitants and industry thanks to an effective water management and wastewater treatment. At the same time VicInAqua is based on a flexible, scalable and modular platform which enables a rapid adaption and scale up to better respond to the customer group at stake. The modularity and scalability of the system permit to have either an all-inclusive package or a much more price-conscious starter solution which can be upgraded whenever necessary. Thus, initial investment costs are not to be regarded as an impediment to benefit of VicInAqua solutions.
VicInAqua societal impacts:
-Improved infrastructure in sanitation by highly efficient wastewater treatment with MBR resulting in safe water for irrigation
-Increased fish production by aquaculture and fish processing industry, expanded agriculture by increased irrigation with treated wastewater
-Aquaculture and wastewater treatment powered by renewable energies
-Increased awareness on crucial sanitation and water supply challenges and solutions via information sessions
-Relevant stakeholders empowered thanks to a VicInAqua training programme
-Women encouraged to undertake a more active role in the aquaculture sector.
VicInAqua project logo
VicInAqua concept