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Engineering Overview of the University of New Hampshire's Open Ocean Aquaculture Project

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12 Author(s)
Celikkol, B. ; Mech. Eng. Dept., New Hampshire Univ., Durham, NH ; DeCew, J. ; Baldwin, K. ; Boduch, S.
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Aquaculture products are projected to play an important role infilling the global demand for seafood in the world marketplace. In the US, stiff resistance to near shore aquaculture sites (where most farms are located) will drive the industry to more exposed locations. In an effort to better understand open ocean aquaculture challenges, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) has been investigating the biological, engineering, environmental and economical issues. This overview focuses on the engineering approach utilized by UNH to determine aquaculture system loads, motions and operational logistics by utilizing a variety of tools including numerical and physical models and field experimentation. Numerical modeling is performed with Aqua-FE, a finite element analysis (FEA) program developed to study aquaculture type systems, MSC.MARC/Mentat, a FEA structural modeling program, and FLUENT, a computational dynamics program. Scaled physical model tests are performed in the UNH wave/tow tank. In addition, an extensive field program experiments with the use of biofouled net panels, telemetry and control systems, feed buoys, scaled cages and various environmental monitoring equipment. Biofouled net panels were tested to determine the blockage effect due to the biological growth. Feed buoys, with telemetry and control options, have been deployed and tested. A new 20 ton capacity feed buoy has been designed and is currently under construction. A scale, experimental, submersible net pen has been designed, built and deployed to determine the feasibility of various components. Environmental measurements are collected with a surface buoy and the data is transmitted to shore. The resulting information from these experiments can help move the near shore aquaculture industry to more exposed locations

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18-21 Sept. 2006