Since July 2021, the NLH research and technical teams have been working hard implementing the Interreg-funded EUROSWAC project. This project is coming to an end soon and the team are now putting together the final bits of reporting to submit to the funders.
The aim of EUROSWAC was the design and validation of an innovative, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly solution for cooling production, using English Channel’s seawater (widely available renewable energy source) as refrigerant, exploiting temperature difference between cold ocean water and external air temperature.
As part of the project the NLH re-awakened their satellite site, The Lobster Module, on the quayside in Newlyn. This had not been running since before the pandemic hit in 2020. Our technicians had to work hard to service the aquaculture systems and give the facilities a deep clean before the start of the lobster season. With all hands on deck, it wasn’t long before the Module was producing baby lobsters for release again.
The Lobster Module consists of 2 shipping containers which have been adapted to incorporate aquaculture production systems. These containers are not insulated and are therefore affected by the seasonal temperatures outside. This made the Module an ideal site for demonstrating the use of Sea Water Air Cooling (SWAC) to help reduce the energy used in temperature regulation of our systems.
After many months of consultation, our project partners (who are experts in the SWAC field) produced some innovative SWAC system designs, for specific use at the demonstration site in Newlyn. Using scientific modelling, these designs, coupled with improved insulation and the installation of photo-voltaic panels were shown to drastically reduce energy consumption, making the running of Lobster Module much more sustainable. Due to time and budgetary constraints, the NLH were not able to realise these designs before the end of the project. However, it’s very much an avenue we wish to explore for the future running of Lobster Module.
The EUROSWAC project proved very beneficial to the NLH. Not only did we explore the possibilities of a more sustainable future for our production systems, we re-established our presence in Newlyn. Since the start of the project, we released over 13,000 juvenile lobsters around the coast of West Cornwall. This has really helped in galvanising our relationship with the fishers in Newlyn and the surrounding area, helping us to improve the lobster populations in these areas and conveying our conservation message to the industry stakeholders. The project also allowed us to work and form links with companies specialising in sustainable energy in the marine sector. These links are likely to prove very beneficial in the future.