The project aims to research and develop a clean energy storage system, recharged from renewable energy at the shore via a lightweight subsea cable.
The 12-month initiative is expected to lead to commercial activity and the creation of up to four highly skilled jobs in Argyll within three years.
It has three main advantages for the aquaculture industry; reducing operating costs; lowering carbon emissions; and improving the visibility and control capability of fish farm assets.
Shetland-based Ocean Kinetics Ltd is leading the project. The company has expanded into Argyll and established a base at Malin House in the European Marine Science Park (EMSP) near Oban.
Ocean Kinetics is working with MMG Welding Ltd, which provides engineering design, fabrication and installation services to the salmon farming industry in the northwest of Ireland. They are also working with Edinburgh-based Stortera Ltd - a young technology development business offering smart and flexible energy storage systems.
Funding has been made possible through HIE’s role as a delivery partner in the Co-Innovate programme, which is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
This €14.7 m programme – including €2.2m from HIE - supports innovation and cross-border R&D projects in parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
This is the second collaborative R&D project led by a Highlands and Islands business, the first being led by Cuantec Ltd, another EMSP-based company.
Vicki Hazley, Co-Innovate programme manager at HIE, said: “This collaborative R&D project is about addressing the need for a more efficient and responsive means of using renewable energy in aquaculture. As well as reducing operating costs, it has potential to lead to significant reductions in carbon emissions, helping the industry’s contribution to net zero. We are very pleased to be able to provide funding and look forward to seeing the product move towards commercialisation.”
John Henderson, managing director of Ocean Kinetics, said: “Aquaculture is an important and growing sector for us and like other industries, it must move away from fossil fuels. Key to this will be commercially viable clean power systems. Co-Innovate has allowed us to accelerate our plans to establish a base in Argyll.