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Aquaculture’s bid to harvest marine energy

Aqua Power Technologies' Sam Etherington alongside a MANTA converter.

AN INNOVATIVE new device which coverts wave energy to power is to be trialled on a salmon farm in Shetland in a bid to make the aquaculture industry greener.

Scottish Sea Farms said it would use the MANTA converter at its Teisti Geo farm in Clift Sound, between Burra and the south mainland, after receiving planning permission from Shetland Islands Council.

It is hoped that the converter will produce enough electricity to power feeding systems, underwater lighting and acoustic predator deterrents, thus reducing Scottish Sea Farms’ reliance on diesel.

The MANTA, which is three metres high and weighs 650kg, has been created by Aqua Power Technologies specifically for the aquaculture industry.

It will be secured to a buoy and suspended 10m to 20m below the water’s surface within the existing mooring grid.

As the buoy rises and falls with the waves, the device’s two ‘wings’ create drag and generate power.

Watch a video of a scaled-down model of the MANTA device below.

Aqua Power Technologies founder Sam Etherington said: “Latest estimates suggest that wave and tidal power has the potential to deliver 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs.

“Capturing that power however, has proven complex. The MANTA takes an altogether different approach, using lightweight large surface area wings to harness the full power of the waves in a way that’s low cost, efficient and easy to maintain.”

The energy created during the trial will be recorded via the MANTA’s in-built monitoring system, which will help to determine how much electricity the local marine environment is capable of producing and whether that energy can be sustained through the year.

Scottish Sea Farms managing director Jim Gallagher added: “Salmon farming already has the lowest carbon footprint of all the farming sectors and this trial, if successful, could hold the key to enhancing those credentials even further.

“It’s part of a long-standing drive to ensure our practices are as responsible and sustainable as possible, with minimum environmental impact and maximum gain for Scotland.”

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