Marine Energy Program

Technology-Specific System Design and Validation

Project Name: Offshore Aquaculture: A Market for Ocean Renewable Energy         

Project Team: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (lead), Blue Economy Cooperative Research Center, Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Center, Ocean Pixel Pte. Ltd., and International Energy Agency Ocean Energy Systems Technology Collaboration Program

Lead Recipient Location: Seattle, Washington

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A team led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) developed a report for the International Energy Agency Ocean Energy Systems Technology Collaboration Program that explored and made recommendations for how offshore aquaculture could use marine energy resources for power. This report is one of the first to consolidate hard-to-find information pertaining to the integration of marine energy with offshore aquaculture. The report reviewed various renewable energy technologies’ potential applications for aquaculture, quantified aquaculture power needs, and shared lessons learned from case studies around the world.  

The report outlined how marine energy technologies could help adequately fuel offshore aquaculture systems to meet operational energy demands. Taking a deep dive into 12 case studies, the authors reviewed lessons learned from offshore aquaculture projects that have demonstrated the potential for integrating renewable energy solutions with their operations. These case studies could help highlight research priorities and solve some of the challenges outlined in the report related to specific operational energy needs of different aquaculture industries, economic considerations, regulatory processes, and technical issues.  

The report showcased how stakeholders across the offshore aquaculture industry could learn from one another to become more sustainable within their operations. For example, replacing diesel fuel (the current method of fueling for most offshore aquaculture operations) with marine or other renewable energy technologies could help make aquaculture and its development sustainable for the surrounding marine ecosystems. Further, co-locating aquaculture and marine energy infrastructure could reduce the need to transport fuel to ocean farms.  

The Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (Australia), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia), and OceanPixel Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) assisted with literature reviews, compiled information, and helped envision what aquaculture would look like not just from a national, but a global, perspective. 

Following the report’s release in April 2022, the PNNL-led team held a webinar to detail the report’s findings and recommendations. The project team also presented the report at several other events around the world, including the Australian Ocean Energy Group Market Summit, Pan American Energy Conference, and the International Conference of Ocean Energy.  

Technology-Specific System Design and Validation Projects