Aquaculture farms to use geothermal resources

Aquaculture farms in Mindoro will be able to grow tons of triple high-quality tilapia, sea bass and shrimps per year, in a nutrient-rich, controlled temperature using water from geothermal power plants.

This is the claim of Emerging Power Inc (EPI), the Filipino developer of renewable-energy resources.

Antonie de Wilde, chief technical adviser was quoted in a statement on Sunday, as saying EPI is planning to enter into joint ventures with fish-ermen in Mindoro.

Under this plan, the local enterprises will tap the steam and fluids of EPIs Montelago Geothermal Power Plant in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, to produce the fish, which will be sold to top resorts and hotels in the Philippines and exported to China and Japan.

“The joint ventures will be launched when the 40-megawatt plant, costing $180 million, becomes operational in mid-2016,” de Wilde said.

“Geothermal water will maintain temperature in water tanks where the fish are kept at 36 to 38 degrees Celsius,” according to Wilde, adding that the controlled temperature will help to shorten the breeding cycle for the fish.

The EPI also said geothermal fluid will be mixed with the water as it contains natural microorganisms and minerals that make the fish healthier and better-tasting than those bred on chemical-based feeds.

De Wilde said the “the microorganisms also make the use of artificial antibiotics like amoxicillin unnecessary for ensuring the health of the fish.”

By using geothermal resources, fish farmers save on 80 per cent of fuel costs for maintaining water temperature, which make up 5 per cent to 8 per cent of their total operating expenses, Wilde claims.

The rural location of most geothermal plants also offers advantages, including clean air, fewer disease problems, cleaner water, a skilled and available work force and often, low taxes, the EPI adviser added.

To date, some aquaculture farms rely on geothermal resources in Iceland, New Zealand and the United States, with 28 such farms in 10 states. Arizona, in particular, produces 300 tonnes of fish per year, the statement issued on February 22 said.

“The use of geothermal fluids to grow healthier and tastier fish and shrimps shows there is more to geothermal energy than the production of power,” the EPI official said.

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