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Oxygenation by efficient air diffusion system for aquaculture farms (cages and earthen ponds) (AirX)
Start date: Sep 1, 2012, End date: Nov 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The AirX Research for SMEs project will develop a novel efficient air diffusion system for oxygenation in aquaculture farms. The target market are cage and earthen pond farmers (seabass and seabream) in Mediterranean, which periodically experience problems with reduced growth rate, increased feed conversion factor (FCR), stress and mortality of stock due to low oxygen content in the water (usually in summer/early autumn when biomass in the farms is normally high).Existing aeration devices are not suitable or too expensive to be used efficiently in ponds, whereas for cages there are no realistic options available. At critical periods with low oxygen levels, feeding is reduced and productivity of the industry is heavily influenced. Mortalities may appear accumulated stress may result in decreased appetite and thereby decreased growth, and decreased feed utilization.AirX will reduce cost of oxygenation by 75% from the current 0.25-0.64 EUR/kg O2 to 0.06-0.17 EUR. Using the AirX system to optimize the oxygen level will provide these benefits for the fish farmer: I)Higher growth rate of stock, II) Improvement of feed conversion rate (FCR), III) Higher production capacity at farm site, IV) Reduction of mortalities, especially during periods of high temperature/low oxygen concentration, V) Reduction of fish stress and generally improved fish welfare, VI) Improvement of the carrying capacity in terms of organic load that can be decomposed in the case of fish ponds, and reduced settling of waste beneath cages.The net value of extra biomass produced by using AirX is 254.000 EUR/year per farm site (presumed 20 cages/site and max 40 tonnes/cage). AirX investment cost for such site is estimated to 26.000 EUR/year.The AirX system will consist of a novel diffuser system, air compressor and automation system. The project will develop a functional prototype that will be extensively tested at end-user site. Time-to-market is less than 1 year after project termination.

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