Second hybrid barge helps Cooke Aquaculture to reduce its carbon footprint

Vestness barge Orkney

Cooke Aquaculture Scotland has deployed a second hybrid feed barge, which the company says will reduce carbon emissions and noise at its Vestness site in Westray, Orkney.

Following successful results from installing its first hybrid system at its Mill Bay site in Stronsay, Orkney in 2022, Cooke Scotland has continued to make great strides in its commitment to sustainability with the installation of an additional barge to enhance power supply management.

In its first year, the hybrid solution at Mill Bay has reduced fuel consumption by 40 per cent and therefore, there has been a significant reduction in the site’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and fuel usage. It further contributes to a quieter working environment for barge personnel and the neighbouring area. This also reflects Cooke’s ongoing commitment to listen to local community feedback and take positive actions which benefit all parties.

The hybrid system uses the residual capacity from the generator to charge the batteries, while at the same time, the auxiliary diesel generator feeds electricity to the rest of the facility. Once the batteries are fully charged, the generator stops, and the hybrid system operates the facility.

The Vestness site is the first in Orkney to have a retrofit installation on an existing barge.

Stewart Rendall, North Isles Manager for Cooke Aquaculture Scotland’s Orkney sites, said: “This second hybrid system installation at our Vestness barge is a significant investment and one that makes economic and environmental sense. Introducing it to more of our ocean sites shows our commitment to sustainability. Farm-raised salmon already have the lowest carbon footprint of any animal protein but there is always more we can do to minimise any impact.

“This one barge is expected to achieve carbon savings of approximately 146 tons of CO2 every year, the equivalent of removing 55 cars from our roads every year.”

Cooke Aquaculture’s Stewart Rendall (left) and Dean Shearer (right)

Working in partnership with Norwegian sustainability leaders Fjord Maritime, who developed the hybrid technology, Cooke reduced fuel usage and generator running time.

Steve Burns, Managing Director for Fjord Maritime UK, said: “To invest and upgrade existing barges with green technology that optimise energy production, reduces fuel consumption, reduce noise pollution and reduce GHGs, is sustainability in every way. It shows that Cooke continue their sustainability commitment, improving quality, energy optimisation and environmental performance.”

In 2019, Cooke initiated a review of barge power as part of its ISO 14001 environmental management objectives to explore alternative sources of power supply to the company’s seawater sites in Orkney and Shetland.

The hybrid system was deployed at both Cooke’s Vestness and Mill Bay sites in Orkney by Inverness-based aquaculture supply company Gael Force Group.

Jamie Young, Sales Director at Gael Force Group, commented: “Working in partnership with the team at Cooke, we are very aware of the significance of environmental sustainability to their operations and in the way in which they care for their livestock. Having the capability to retrospectively install hybrid power solutions across our range of concrete and steel feeding barges, like we have done on this occasion, goes a long way to helping fish farmers achieve their aims towards further carbon footprint reduction.”

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