Maine RAS farm project wins $5m grant

Katahdin Salmon_Millinocket

Land-based start-up Katahdin Salmon has received a $5m (£3.9m) grant for remediation of its proposed recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) plant in Maine, in the northeastern United States.

The company is also rebranding as “Great Northern Salmon”. Marianne Naess, CEO of Great Northern Salmon, said: “Katahdin Salmon has been a good name for the initial development phases in Maine. Now that the company is entering into a new phase, it is the right time to transition to a name that reflects the developments of the company and the way forward but that still ties the company to the local community.”

The remediation grant, for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be used to ensure the plant, based on the site of an old paper mill, is free of pollution from its former industrial use. The grant was awarded to the company’s development partner Our Katahdin for the remediation of the project site in collaboration with Katahdin Salmon. This grant comes in addition to $1 million (£787m) in funding from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development for the same purpose.

Our Katahdin is a volunteer-driven not for profit organization working to promote community and economic development in the Katahdin region.

The Millinocket facility will be located on the 1400-acre property that belonged to the Great Northern Paper Company which permanently closed in 2008. When the Millinocket Mill opened in 1900, it was the world´s largest paper mill. It was the first paper mill to have an on-site hydro generation and distribution facility.

Nofitech selected for RAS design

The RAS system for the plant will be designed by Norwegian business Nofitech.

Dean Guest, Head of RAS Technology at Great Northern Salmon, said: “It became clear as soon as we started exploring future collaboration that we see things the same way and that Nofitech has a design that is compatible with our bioplan. Nofitech´s reputation for delivering on expectations for cost, performance, and schedule, proven through its repeat business with several customers, was also an important factor in the decision.”

Contractors from across the country have shown interest in the remediation project, which will be managed by Sevee & Maher Engineering. The contractor is expected to be selected within the next few months with a remediation starting later this summer. The primary work involves decanting the lagoon, removing old infrastructure, and in-situ handling of the sludge deposits.

Sean DeWitt, president of Our Katahdin, said: “We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a $5 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The grant will play a crucial role in remediating 26 acres of the former mill site’s wastewater lagoon. This EPA-funded project will clear the way for Great Northern Salmon’s (formerly Katahdin Salmon) aquaculture project which has secured major project permits and is scheduled to begin construction in 2025.”

“We are grateful for the support of the EPA, our federal delegation, and the many local and state organizations that have supported the clean-up and infrastructure improvements to the former mill site. These investments are laying the foundation for significant job creation and a better economic future for the Katahdin region,” he added.

The federal and state contributions reduce the overall CAPEX, the company said, and enable it to start construction with a fully prepared and excavated site, reducing the construction cost and timeline. The construction schedule is estimated to be six months shorter as a result.

Marianne Naess said: “Being selected for a substantial grant like this by the EPA speaks to the high-quality work that our development partner, Our Katahdin, has put into developing the former paper mill site and also the great potential for Katahdin Salmon to repurpose the site.”

She also explained that, while the company is focused on developing the first site in Millinocket, the new brand will be scalable to future locations and reflects the ambition to expand to future locations in North America.

Great Northern Salmon, formerly Katahdin, is a venture of Xcelerate Aqua, which was founded by Marianne Naess and Erik Heim, who left Nordic Aquafarms in 2022.

Marianne Naess and Erik Heim




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