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Developing a new water filtration system for aquaculture in Ireland

Posted: 23 February, 2017

Bord na Móna, in collaboration with the Water Innovation Research Centre at DIT and in association with Bord Iascaigh Mhara, are exploring new market opportunities in aquaculture through a research project based in the Environmental, Sustainability and Health Institute (ESHI) in DIT Grangegorman.

The project seeks to leverage Bord na Móna’s existing extensive land banks and use them to support large-scale aquaculture (farming of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, algae) development and biomass generation.

Specifically, the project is tackling the challenge of controlling water quality within an aquaculture production system in Ireland and limiting the accumulation of surplus nutrients and waste from fish production. Researchers will explore the use of the common fresh-water plant, duckweed as a natural solution to optimize water quality. Duckweed has proven successful as a natural water filtration system in other countries, but this is the first time it will be piloted in Ireland for aquaculture. The duckweed will also be harvested and could be used in a variety of contexts, for example as an energy source or as an additive to animal feed. 

This project aims to provide a model for a completely natural approach to controlling freshwater quality in aquaculture in Ireland.

The project is led by Dr Alan Gilmer working with PhD researcher, Wagner Hernandes from DIT, and draws from a multidisciplinary team from across the Institute. It represents a new collaboration between DIT and Bord na Móna under the competitive DIT Fiosraigh Enterprise Scholarship Scheme designed to support industry led research development and student engagement. 

The Water Innovation Research Centre (WIRC) at DIT brings together researchers from across a wide range of disciplines to harness research capacity and drive new initiatives in water related research. The group has state-of-the-art dedicated research facilities in the Environmental Sustainability and Health Institute (ESHI), located in the new Greenway Hub, DIT Grangegorman.