Lobster farmer gets claws into green energy project

From left: Tor Kristian Gyland (Green Mountain), Alf Reime and Asbjorn Drengstig (Norwegian Lobster Farm.)

The world’s first business to produce land-based farmed lobsters and Norwegian data specialists Green Mountain have teamed up in a ground-breaking energy project.

Norwegian Lobster Farm has entered into an agreement with Green Mountain on the reuse of waste heat from the data centre.

The project represents an innovative example of the circular economy, with waste heat from the data centre reused for food production. The carbon footprint is also significantly reduced. The announcement follows the unveiling of a similar partnership earlier this month between Green Mountain and land-based trout farmer Hima Seafood.

Based in southern Norway, Norwegian Lobster Farm produces high quality lobsters 20cm long and weighing about 250 grams.

The facility uses recycling aquaculture system technology (RAS) as well as advanced robotics, computer vision systems and automatic and continuous monitoring of each individual lobster.

To grow optimally, the lobster needs a temperature of 20°C in the seawater. This is exactly the temperature of the seawater that has been used to cool the IT equipment in Green Mountain’s data centre. This heated wastewater can therefore be delivered directly to the fish farm.

Cooling a data centre usually accounts for an additional 40-80% of the electricity required to power the servers.

Green Mountain uses an innovative fjord cooling solution for this purpose. Today the seawater enters the facility with a temperature of 8°C and is released back into the fjord with a temperature of 20°C.

The plan is to build a new production facility adjacent to the data centre where this heated seawater can be used directly in the breeding of lobsters.

The CEO of Norwegian Lobster Farm, Asbjørn Drengstig, said: “In practical terms, this means that we can scale up production, reduce technical risk, and save both CAPEX and OPEX. In addition to the environmental benefits, of course.”

He said land-based lobster farming is certainly challenging, but the market opportunities are enormous, especially since the lobster population in Europe is declining.

The company has spent several years on research and development and has secured EU funding through the Horizon 2020 Grant Agreement NO880911 and the EuroStars programs.

Drengstig expects being able to start construction of the production facility later this year.

Green Mountain CEO Tor Kristian Gyland said: “For a long time, we have explored various methods to reuse the waste heat from our data centre. Here at Rennesøy, which is sparsely populated, district heating is not a sensible alternative. This project, on the other hand, fits like a glove. We hope we can expand this and similar concepts to our future facilities as well.”