Benefits of Aquaculture Heat Pumps

 In Aquaculture News, Questions & Answers, Trident

 Benefits of Aquaculture Heat Pumps

Importance of Temperature Control in Aquaculture

The main benefit of aquaculture heat pumps is the fact that temperature control is crucial in aquaculture for maintaining the optimal conditions necessary for the growth, health, and overall well-being of aquatic organisms. Various aquatic species, such as fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants, have specific temperature requirements to thrive and reproduce effectively.

  • Growth and reproduction: Temperature directly influences the metabolic rate, growth, and reproduction of aquatic organisms. Different species have specific temperature ranges within which they exhibit optimal performance. Deviations from these temperature ranges can lead to reduced growth rates, delayed maturity, or even complete reproductive failure.
  • Survival and health: Aquatic organisms are ectothermic, meaning their body temperature is regulated by the surrounding environment. Fluctuations in water temperature outside their tolerance range can cause stress, weaken the immune system, and make them susceptible to diseases and infections. Maintaining consistent and appropriate water temperatures helps ensure the survival and overall health of the organism.
  • Oxygen solubility: Water’s capacity to hold dissolved oxygen decreases as the temperature increases. Higher temperatures reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen available for aquatic organisms, potentially leading to oxygen deprivation and suffocation. Proper temperature control allows for optimum dissolved oxygen levels, essential for sustaining the life and growth of fish and other organisms.
  • Feed conversion efficiency: Temperature affects the metabolic rate and feed conversion efficiency of aquatic species. Optimal temperatures promote efficient nutrient absorption, conversion, and utilization, leading to better growth rates and reduced feed requirements. Temperature control can help maximize feed utilization efficiency and minimize feed waste.
  • Diseases and parasites: Water temperature can have a significant impact on the prevalence and activity of diseases and parasites in aquaculture systems. Some pathogens thrive in specific temperature ranges and can rapidly multiply, leading to outbreaks and high mortality rates. Maintaining optimal water temperatures can help minimize the occurrence and severity of diseases and parasites, reducing the need for chemical treatments.

In conclusion, maintaining precise temperature control in aquaculture systems is crucial for promoting optimal growth, reproduction, health, and overall productivity of aquatic organisms. By paying close attention to water temperature and implementing appropriate heating and cooling technologies, such as aquaculture heat pumps, aquaculture operators can create ideal conditions for their crops, leading to improved sustainability, profitability, and reduced environmental impact.

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Benefits of Aquaculture Heat Pumps

Energy Efficiency

Heat pumps unlike traditional heating methods do not directly burn a fuel. Instead, they use electricity to power internal compression processes and boost a refrigerant’s heat transfer capability producing more heat than the power that they consume.

  • Electric elements – Typically produce 1 kW of heat energy for every 1 kW of electricity they use. Ideal for small aquariums and emergency backup. But long term very expensive to run.
  • Gas Boilers, Wood, and Oil Burners – Usually run at 70 to 80% efficiency. However, they do have the benefits of burning more and getting more. They also can heat water to significant temperatures. However, they often produce a significant amount of wasted energy.
  • Aquaculture Heat Pumps – Typically can run at efficiencies of over 500%. This means that for every 1 kW of electricity they use, they produce 5 kW of heat energy. Meaning they are 5 times more efficient than elements saving a lot of ongoing costs. They also will reduce your running costs over gas by 50 to 70%. Other benefits of aquaculture heat pumps is that they can also be used as chillers. A function no other heater can do.

In short heat pumps typically will save 50 to 70 percent of operational costs over other forms of heating, with the added benefit of having a cooling cycle.  This means you only need one piece of equipment rather than two (heater plus Chiller in one.).

Temperature Control

Aquaculture heat pumps are not your standard pool heat pumps or standard chillers. Pool heat pumps are usually designed for heating only, and chillers are set up for just cooling. Aquaculture heat pumps are heaters and chillers in a single system.

Having heating and cooling in a single system allows you to work around set temperatures. The system will monitor the water temperature and if the water rises by a degree then the unit will automatically turn on cooling and bring the water temp back to the set point. Likewise, if the water drops by a degree the unit will automatically turn on the heating and raise the temperature back up to the setpoint. This reverse cycle of heating and chilling allows you to control the water temperature with minimal manual handling.

Temperature control can also help you adjust the water temperature and control food uptake, disease, oxygen levels, and other water chemistry. You can also then alter the set point temperature and control seasonal temperature changes. This can be then used to create climate change, spawning cycles, change growth rates and all sorts of other environmental impacts. Some people have used temperature control to gain two spawning seasons in a year. Toyesi’s Aquaculture heat pumps can also be linked to an external control system for even more automated temperature control.

The main benefit of Aquaculture heat pumps is this temperature control feature.

Reliability & Sustainability

Heat pumps may look like each other, and may for the most part do the same job. However, when it comes to heat pumps you do get what you pay for.

Budget Systems – Cash flow is king in any business and often budget systems catch people’s eyes. They appear to be the same as other brands but at a fraction of the cost. However, they are low-cost for a reason. Usually, they use lower-cost components, thinner-walled titanium heat exchangers, mass-produced and built on a budget. These units may last 3 to 5 years. Always buy a backup unit. In the end, they are known as throw-away heat pumps and are often not worth servicing.

Mid-Range Systems – Heat pumps built around a more quality outlook. Often these units use higher-quality components and although may still be mass-built, they work off lower numbers and higher quality control practices. The lifespan of these systems is usually around 5 to 7 years.

High-End Systems – Often custom-built on a project-by-project basis using quality components. They usually have superior components and are designed with efficiency and longevity in mind. Although often quite expensive compared with the budget systems, their lifespan of 10 to 20 years more than pays for itself.  Lower breakdowns, easier to service. Due to the quality of the build these units are cheaper to service than replace and thus reduce long-term expenses and significantly reduced downtime.

High-end systems Are usually more energy efficient in both heating and cooling modes, offering reduced running costs, reduced service costs, and have a much lower impact on the environment long-term.

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Real-World Examples

Following are just a couple of sample projects where an aquaculture heat pump made a real difference.

Live Oyster Project – South Australia

Client Issue

  • Spawning and initial grow out.
  • To maintain 25oC in Winter and 26oC in Summer
  • 1-phase power restrictions
  • Out-door for installation of equipment
  • Located on the coast with high salty air environment
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  • Installed a Toyesi TCL175SSD-Ti, and 5 years later installed a 2nd unit TCL250 SSD-TI.
  • Units were custom-made cleanable systems
  • Extended surface, Inline Titanium heat exchangers for easy manual cleaning.
  • 316 Stainless steel chassis and an epoxy-coated coil for corrosion protection.
  • “Shellfish happy” = Client Happy.

Live Trout Grow-Out Project – Western Australia

Client Issue

  • To maintain 20oC in Winter and 26oC in Summer
  • Out-door for installation of equipment
  • 2 x 12,500L Polyethylene tanks & 1 x 11,500 bio folter tank.
  • 1% of water lost to waste each day
  • Required around 9 kW of chilling in summer and 14 kW of heating in winter.
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  • Installed a Toyesi TAC 300 SSD Aquaculture Heat Pumps
  • A reverse cycle heater chiller with a titanium heat exchanger.
  • Rated at 14kW heating and 10 kW cooling
  • the heat pump was fitted in line with the filter system
  • 316 Stainless steel chassis and an epoxy-coated coil for corrosion protection.
  • “Fish happy” = Client Happy.

Live Barramundi Project – NSW South Coast

Client Issue

  • To maintain 24oC in winter.
  • Ambient outdoors at night Minus 2 degrees.
  • Indoor for installation of equipment
  • An insulated enclosure around 19oC ambient.
  • Multiple tanks with over 150,000 Litres of water.
  • 5% of water lost to waste each day
  • Required around 50 kW of heating
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  • Installed a Toyesi TAC 1200 INP Aquaculture Heat Pumps
  • A reverse cycle heater chiller with a titanium heat exchanger.
  • Rated at 58kW heating
  • The unit had to be a specialised ducted plant room system
  • The heat pump was fitted in line with the filter system, however, the pressure drop was too great for the required water flow for the project.
  • The fix was to operate the heat pump directly with the sump – the problem was solved.
  • “Fish happy” = Client Happy.

Contact Toyesi for Help with Project Heat Pump Selection

We have had many projects across a wide range of species and client types. From Universities, Research Centers, Zoos, Aquariums, Oyster Fams, Barramundi Farms, Trout Farms, Hatcheries, Growouts, Depavation Tanks, and many other projects.

Toyesi brings a wealth of knowledge from staff with Aquaculture backgrounds and Design Engineering in Thermal Dynamics. Offering our clients heat load calculations, product selection, and ongoing support for the life of the equipment and beyond. Click here to contact Toyesi

Point to Consider.

High Initial Costs:
Heat pumps often have higher upfront costs compared to conventional heating systems due to equipment,  installation, and setup expenses. These costs can be dearer than many people anticipate.  However, when you consider that Aquaculture Heat Pumps are reverse cycle and chillers as well, many projects will only need a single piece of equipment rather than two. Reducing the overall costs. Although adding more to the initial expense, adding solar panels to offset the grid electricity use, nearly all the ongoing power running costs can be reduced to nearly zero.

You will find that you either invest today or continue to keep paying tomorrow.

Buy a Backup Unit
The benefits of an aquaculture heat pump are their flexibility, reliability, and trouble-free long lifespan. However, equipment and parts do fail from time to time. Due to wear and tear, electric shorts, power surges, lightning, flooding, and an array of other factors.

When a heat pump goes down it will put the water temperature at risk. Sometimes you may have time to arrange a service and repair, but some projects are very temperature-sensitive. If you feel that your livestock would be adversely affected, either by reduced growth rates, changes in breading cycles, or even at risk of death, we highly suggest that, if the budget is there, you consider purchasing a spare unit.  This is life insurance for your livestock and buys you valuable time in fixing or replacing the heat pump.

Maintenance and Repairs:
All heat pumps require regular maintenance to ensure optimal efficiency and effectiveness. Filters, coils, and fans must be inspected, cleaned, or replaced periodically. In case of malfunctions or breakdowns, repairs could be more costly and time-consuming compared to conventional heating systems. Preventative maintenance and regular service up to 4 times a year is advisable to keep the equipment as efficient as possible.

Noise Levels:
Heat pumps emit a certain level of operational noise, which may be a concern for farmers or greenhouse operators located in residential areas. Noise reduction measures, such as locating the heat pump away from living spaces or implementing sound barriers, and sound attenuation may be necessary to address this issue.

Installation Location
Most heat pumps are installed outdoors.  They need a stable floor, often a concrete plinth is great. They also need good airflow around them. Heat pumps in heating mode produce cold air. If this cold air cannot dissipate it gets sucked into the heat pump and can over cool the unit reducing performance or even causing freeze-ups. This is why it is best to avoid top-discharge units where possible.

You can also install heat pumps in a plant room. However, you will need to duct fresh air in and the cold air out of the plant room. This will add extra cost for the ducting. However, your equipment will tend to last longer.  Toyesi is the indoor heat pump installation specialist.

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Conclusion ~ Benefits of Aquaculture Heat Pumps

Aquaculture Heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat or cool your aqua-project, allowing you to have all year long peace of mind.  However, it is important to size your system correctly. Many companies do not understand the complexes of aquaculture systems, heat losses, or gains. They will often size on water volume alone. This often leads to undersized equipment.

It is important to work with your suppliers to size the equipment carefully and not to skimp on the heat pump selection. Poor choice upfront may save you money but could lead to poor performance and wasted money long term.

Want to Know More

Toyesi has over 30 years of tacit knowledge in sizing heat pumps and chillers. We have a range of Toyesi Australian-made equipment, as well as a range of imported more domestic-oriented systems.

We can take your project, and your working conditions and choose the correct equipment for you. We know that a 50kW heat pump in Tasmania is very different from a 50kW heat pump in Darwin. Not all off-the-shelf heat pump solutions fit all projects.  So why not drop us a line (Click Here)

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