Reductions of environmental footprint and lifetime costs are nowadays key aspects of most of human activities. Such concerns are also present in the aquaculture sector which involves the cultivation of aquatic organisms as well as all activities related to their processing, seeking to ensure sustainable growth. This paper deals with the environmental and economic aspects of aquaculture systems (involving aquaculture farms and relevant farm vessels) with a high share of renewable energy sources (RES). The energy needs of a typical aquaculture system are identified and Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) of different power system configurations are performed. These configurations are also compared from the economical viewpoint, by the Life Cycle Cost Assessment (LCCA). Electrification of farm vessels is recognized as a key solution to reduce both the environmental footprint and operating costs. However, as shown by LCA, due to specific operating profile of farm vessels their energy needs can not be completely covered by RES, since an amount of electricity supplied from the national grid is needed. Therefore, the share of renewables will be dependent on the percentage of RES in the energy mix of the specific location of the aquaculture system. The LCCA analysis has shown that this form of integration requires larger investment which, if an unfavourable form of RES is chosen, may cause financial losses.
Keywords renewable energy sources (RES); aquaculture; carbon footprint; LCA; LCCA