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Icelandic fish farm uses Danish know-how

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Written: 19-02-2024

Icelandic fish farm uses Danish know-how

On Heimaey in Iceland, an impressive project is rising these years: The land-based fish farm LAXEY, which will provide the world market with 32,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon a year. Danish company A-Consult is contracted to build concrete tanks on-site for part of the project. 

The fish farming will take place in closed tanks filled with clean seawater. The water is pumped up through a hybrid flow-through system and cleaned thoroughly before being returned to the sea. The sea temperature in the Westman Islands makes the location ideal for the purpose, Bragi Magnússon explains. He is the construction manager at LAXEY and has been involved in the project since 2021.

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48 tanks in all

The project started out in 2018. An environmental assessment for the area begun by then and is now coming to an end as well as the final design for the plant. Bragi says:

- The whole project has seven phases: The first phase – establishing the hatchery – is ending this summer. Next phase – building the first eight tanks – is expected to be completed, so that the tanks are ready for use by January 2025. The following five phases will last one year each, establishing eight tanks a year. The total project comprising 48 tanks in all is expected finished by 2030.

Reducing the carbon footprint

A high-quality product is of course crucial to LAXEY. But a lot of effort is also put into producing in an environmentally friendly way. Only electrical energy is used in the farming as well as oxygen produced with electricity on site. The waste is filtered from the effluent and can be used for a fertilizer for land, just as the effluent itself can be used in shellfish or seaweed cultivation. 

Establishing a hatchery as part of the project contributes to reducing the carbon footprint as it will not require transport over long distances. So does casting the panels in Iceland for the concrete tanks on-site, Bragi explains:

- It was important to us, that A-Consult was willing to build the tanks in Iceland. That gives us less expenses for transport and is also better for the environment.  

The short production span and quick installation of the tanks from A-Consult also fits the project well because of the climate and the changing seasons on Iceland.

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Supervising across borders

LAXEY chose A-Consult to build the concrete tanks after researching similar projects in other countries, Bragi tells:

- We have been looking at for example Norway and are impressed of A-Consult’s solutions for aqua farming. Their products fit our needs regarding i.e. the closed tanks.

The tanks with concrete roofs are pre-designed with all necessary openings for equipment, pipes etc., and act as independent, robust buildings. This saves the need for a large facility building to protect the tanks.

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The construction of the concrete tanks is carried out at the local factory Einingaverksmiðinn. Ole Borg, technical production manager at A-Consult in Denmark, has traveled to Iceland four times during the last six months to supervise the project. Each tank consists of 42 wall panels, and A-Consult provides the moulds for the wall panels.

Building on-site has several advantages, Ole points out:

- Each wall panel weighs about 14 tonnes. Shipping the panels would be a heavy task. Furthermore, the factory here has excellent equipment and a dedicated staff.

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When visiting the factory in Iceland, Ole enjoys working with the staff, that he finds very welcoming and easy-going people. He says:

- I work on many projects similar to this around Europe. A-Consult also has local production partners in other countries. I like meeting people and getting to know new places. The nature in Iceland is just amazing and although I spend most of the day at the factory, I can’t avoid noticing the beautiful surroundings.

The land-based fish farm on Heimaey

  • LAXEY has worked on the project since 2018. The total project will be completed by 2030.
  • The first phase of the fish farm is expected to be ready for use in 2025.
  • The project will be employing around 200 people during the construction phase and 120 people when in full operation.
  • Danish A-Consult provides concrete tanks for similar projects at i.e. Indre Harøy on the Norwegian west coast.

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