PV project combines aquaculture and photovoltaics in Vietnam

Pangasius project

German Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and its Vietnamese partners want to demonstrate that dual land use for aquaculture and photovoltaics can solve some problems caused by increasing energy demand and the growing competition for land use in the country. With the project »SHRIMPS« (Solar-Aquaculture Habitats as Resource-Efficient and Integrated Multilayer Production Systems) pilot plants are being installed and tested along the Mekong’s upper basin and in the Mekong Delta.
Fraunhofer ISE had already carried out a pre-feasibility study on the potential for combining shrimp farming with photovoltaics in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta in 2018 on behalf of GIZ, a German service provider in the field of international cooperation. It is now testing the technical and commercial feasibility of dual land use for solar power generation and commercial aquaculture on a shrimp farm run by Vietnam’s national market leader Viet Uc Seafood.
For reasons of hygiene, more and more aquaculture facilities in Southeast Asia are covered with closed greenhouses to prevent the introduction of diseases by birds or other aquatic animals. These canopies allow the integration of solar modules. The scientists consider on-land shrimp farming in closed systems to be a promising approach to the careful use of land and water resources in the region.
By providing shade, the solar modules integrated into the housing improve working conditions for the employees at the facility. They also offer protection from predators and maintain a lower water temperature enhancing shrimp growth. The 1 MW pilot plant in Bac Lieu should reduce CO2 emissions by about 15,000 metric tons each year and cut water consumption by 75 percent compared to that of a conventional shrimp farm.
Another 400 kW plant is being installed above a freshwater basin where pangasius are bred. The solar modules are to be elevated above the surface of the water, which will reduce water consumption via evaporation as well as protecting the fish from predatory birds. The solar power generated will be used by the pangasius farm itself, as the plant is a hybrid designed for off-grid operation. This will significantly reduce the need for diesel.
The project is set to run for three years and will begin with simulations looking at small systems before the two larger plants are built. »In the third step we will scale down again to develop a solution for small and medium-sized aquaculture businesses,« explains project manager Maximilian Trommsdorff of Fraunhofer ISE.
Fraunhofer ISE and GIZ developed the research approach and project proposal on the basis of findings from this work. German Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports the project within the framework programme »Research for Sustainable Development« (FONA3) by supporting the research and development activities of the partners SMA Sunbelt Energy GmbH, Suntrace GmbH, Fraunhofer ISE and the German Thünen Institute of Fisheries Ecology. Further partners of the bilaterally financed project on the Vietnamese side are the Nong Lam University, the Vietnamese Institute of Energy and the Viet Uc Seafood Corporation.

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