Developing Alternative Power to Drive a Partitioned Aquaculture System for Intensive Food Fish Production

EPA Grant Number: SU834755
Title: Developing Alternative Power to Drive a Partitioned Aquaculture System for Intensive Food Fish Production
Investigators: Leavitt, Dale F. , Riley, Linda A. , Thomas, Charles R.
Institution: Roger Williams University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: II
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2012
Project Amount: $74,786
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2010) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Awards , Sustainability


It is incumbent on the developed nations to improve and expand our capacity to produce food in an environment that is sustained for future generations. One production strategy that has high potential for providing food is aquaculture. Our challenge is the refinement of an intensive recirculating pond-based aquaculture production system (the Partitioned Aquaculture System - PAS) such that it is driven by low-impact renewable energy sources. We propose to design, model and optimize a system to remove the need for commercial electrical power to the PAS by installing photovoltaic electrical generation supplying a battery-based power source to drive an airlift pump circulator.


During Phase 2, an interdisciplinary team of RWU undergraduate students, from the Engineering Major, the Construction Management Major (both within the RWU School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management) and/or the Aquarium Systems and Aquaculture minor within the Biology Program (in the RWU Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences), will adapt the existing PAS on-site at the DoubleM Cranberry Company in Rochester, MA to an alternatively powered system. Once constructed, the fish farm will be operated by the students through a complete growing season (using largemouth bass) to assess the feasibility of the system and to gain details on the production capacity and power use of the system redesign. These data will be compared to the initial estimates of power consumption and economic feasibility (developed during Phase 1).

Expected Results:

Data collected, such as fish production rates and construction/operating costs, will allow us to evaluate the predictions generated by our modeling activities as well as provide real estimates of cost/benefit for the application of alternative PAS technology in temperate water conditions. Food production, energy use, resource allocation, and environmental hazards are all within the scope of the current project and will provide “teachable moments” for our students to outreach their knowledge and awareness to the surrounding communities, as they relay their project to stakeholders. The results also will be expanded to project on the potential for implementing a simplified sustainable PAS (S-PAS) fish farm at various locations and situations throughout the world.

Supplemental Keywords:

animal feeding operation, renewable energy, solar energy, intensive fish farming,

Relevant Websites:

Phase 1 Abstract
Phase 1 Final Report

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2011
  • Final

  • P3 Phase I:

    Developing Alternative Power to Drive a Partitioned Aquaculture System for Intensive Food Fish Production  | Final Report