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Aquaponics refers to a system that combines Hydroponic (cultivating plants in water) with Aquaculture (raising fish in tanks), resulting in a system of fish farming in tanks with plants growing on their surface.
Excretions from the fish being raised are fed to a hydroponic system and thus can be absorbed by the plants, which in return give oxygen and nutrients to the water recirculated back to fish in acquaculture. In this way, the fish waste feeds the plants and the plants purify the water adding advantages for both sides.
Thanks to the natural synergistic collaboration obtained between the two production systems (Hydroponics and Aquaculture), the aim is to obtain economic benefits.

Planned activities within PerFORM WATER 2030

The experimental activities regarding aquaponics and hydrogen recovery are part of the Recovery of energy and materials research line included in PerFORM WATER 2030.
To verify the production of vegetables combined with fish farming a small-scale plant with a dedicated electrolyzer will be installed. The oxygen produced by the electrolyzer will be used to maintain a correct concentration of dissolved oxygen in the aquaculture's water. The electrolyzer will also produce hydrogen, that will be used for biogas upgrading in the pilot scale biomethane reactor installed nearby (see for further information).

Objectives and expected results

  • Reduction of water consumption to maintain the quality of water necessary for animal well-being.

  • The ongoing creation of an organic fertilizer for innovative agriculture.

  • Identification of key parameters that determine the stability of the process.

Description of the activities

  • Design and construction of a pilot scale system for aquaponics with oxygen from water electrolysis.

  • Launch of the pilot scale system, testing different operating conditions in order to optimize the process and make it expandable on larger scale.

Pilot site

The experimental activities will be located at San Giuliano Milanese West WWTP (Wastewater treatment plant) operated by CAP Group.
For further information, please refer to the specific web-page dedicated to demonstration sites of PerFORM WATER 2030.

Partners involved

HyDEP srl will carry out the design and construction of the pilot aquaponics plant, including the supply of the electrolysis system for the oxygen production.

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