Reducing environmental impact of recirculating aquaculture systems by introducing a novel microaerophilic assimilation reactor: Modeling and proof of concept

Uri Yogev, Amit Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Use of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS)to grow fish is on the rise. Fish feed typically contains 25–60% protein and is the only significant input in RAS. Fish recover 20–30% of the applied feed as biomass, and the unassimilated nitrogen is released into the water, mainly as ammonia, which is toxic to fish. Nitrification is the most common treatment practice, converting ammonia to the less toxic nitrate, and nitrogen removal is achieved by either water exchange or denitrification. The aim of this study was to develop and test a novel approach to remove nitrogen based on a microaerophilic assimilation side-reactor. In the suggested system, fish solid waste and dissolved nitrogen are assimilated into protein-rich microbial biomass, which has the potential to partially offset fish feed input. Initially, a theoretical model based on the system's nitrogen mass balance was established. Then, an intensive pilot-scale RAS was constructed, growing ∼50 kg fish/m3. The system consisted of a fish tank, solids filter, and microaerophilic assimilation reactor based on activated sludge treatment. Intrinsic solid waste and wheat-flour waste were used as carbon source. After a trial run of about 2.5 months, the RAS was tested for 101 days. Average total ammonia nitrogen, nitrite, and nitrate removal were 89.1, 69.4 and 100%, respectively. Of the introduced solids, over 82% were lost as carbon dioxide by respiration, 11.7% were recovered as microbial biomass and 6.5% as fish biomass, and only 0.6% remained in the water. Biomass organic content was similar to aquafeed and nitrogen content was equivalent to 40% crude protein. Daily energy demand for the system's designed capacity of 80 kg/m3 would result in a low energy consumption of 7.72 kW h/kg fish. Overall, a novel concept for sustainable production in intensive aquaculture was developed and successfully demonstrated in a pilot-scale RAS.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1042-1050
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume226
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Jul 2019

Keywords

  • Biofloc
  • Energy efficiency
  • Microaerophilic reactor
  • Microbial biomass
  • Nutrient recycling
  • Sustainable RAS

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Strategy and Management

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Reducing environmental impact of recirculating aquaculture systems by introducing a novel microaerophilic assimilation reactor: Modeling and proof of concept'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this