The permit for the farm – sited at the Tjeldbergodden industry park in Aure – allows for a maximum standing biomass of 21,000 tonnes – equivalent to 27 licences for conventional fish farm in the sea – with an annual output of 36,500 tonnes of head-on gutted (HOG) salmon, or up to 500,000 salmon meals per day throughout the year.
It also allows for the production of 30 million smolt per year, which Salfjord said provides great flexibility for its production plans.
The company is now working to secure additional strategic and industrial investors in order to implement a new share issue during 2023. The estimated price tag for the fully developed completed plant is NOK 7-7.5 billion ($648- 694 million).
Salfjord co-founder and CEO Hans Ramsvik said in a press release: “We’ve worked purposefully on this for a long time and are very pleased that the permit is now in place. We’re now looking forward to a dialogue in finding the right partners and exploring financing models. Attention in future will concentrate on building the organisation, risk management and speeding up detail design work.”
Ramsvik reports that the aim is for the first phase of grow-out production to be ready in 2026. The company envisages that the completed plant will embrace a hatchery and departments for initial feeding, grow-out, smolts and post-smolt.
“The permit for smolts makes us self-sufficient for these and gives us great flexibility in relation to our production plans,” said Ramsvik. “Our upscaling ambitions extend beyond the Tjeldbergodden facility, and we’re expecting to secure planning permission soon for a further location in Aure local authority.”
Salfjord has opted to work closely with RAS specialist Artec Aqua, whose deliveries include similar technology under a virtually identical turnkey contract to Salmon Evolution further south in Norway.
“Having Artec Aqua on the team reduces uncertainty for construction time and costs,” explained Ramsvik. “Thanks to its hybrid system – a flow-through solution with recycling of up to 65 percent of the water quantity – we’ll also overcome technological, operational and biological challenges.”
According to Salfjord, the hybrid solution provides the best cost/benefit effect where water needs to be heated. The company believes that with the constant provision of 35-40 percent fresh seawater and a division into closed zones, this technology has already demonstrated that it poses a low biological risk.
“Risk management plays a key role in our philosophy, and our choice of location, hybrid technology and the right partners is based on risk assessments,” added Ramsvik. He explained that risk will be managed during production on the basis of modern barrier management as recommended by DNV.
A process and energy simulator has been developed by Salfjord in close collaboration with ABB, and a digital twin of the plant will the used by the company in its process and risk management.
Backed by accurate historical and real-time data, the company says it will therefore secure close control and optimisation of such production parameters as maintenance, energy efficiency and fish welfare.
“We’re paying close attention to the technology choices made and experience gained by those who’ve already made the move to land,” said Ramsvik. “Building on experience from a developing industry gives us a knowledge base for improving fish welfare and risk management in design and operation.
He added: “Great attention is being paid to biosecurity in order to protect fish health in our own facility and to ensure that our operations contribute to progress for other aquaculture players as well as minimising the impact on wild salmon in the area.”
Plans include cleaning and very strong disinfection of intake and outlet water to prevent illness entering and exiting the facility. Fish transport in and out will be enclosed, with no release of water.
The company states that the Tjeldbergodden farm will be favourably positioned for supplies of fresh seawater as well as incoming and outgoing logistics. The region also has a strong and innovative supplier industry.
“We’re also looking at circular opportunities, such as utilising waste heat from Equinor’s nearby methanol factory,” explained Ramsvik. “That could help to cut our energy consumption as well as reducing the overall pressure on electricity supplies in the area.”
He continued: “We want to take the opportunity to invite all our neighbours as well as partners new and old to a dialogue and a collaboration which can ensure overall progress for all players and local communities in and around Tjeldbergodden.”
“In our view, we can thereby collectively help to boost aquaculture and other industries in the district,” Ramsvik concluded.