Pentair and Urban Organics to work on commercial aquaponics
Pentair plc and Urban Organics, LLC have announced they are to collaborate to accelerate the development of commercial scale modern aquaponics.
“Aquaculture and aquaponics have the potential to help the world meet its growing need for protein, and we have the technologies and expertise to help grow the industry while sustainably producing food with less waste, energy and water,” states Randall J. Hogan, Pentair chairman and CEO. “The collaboration with Urban Organics is one more step in our efforts to help this new industry bring healthy food to developing countries, arid climates and space-challenged urban centers.”
Initially, the venture will establish and operate an 87,000-square-foot indoor aquaponics facility in the former Schmidt’s brewery building in St. Paul. This will be one of the largest commercial aquaponics facilities in the world and will have the potential to annually produce 275,000 lbs. of fresh char, salmon, or trout, and 400,000 lbs. of organically grown produce, including hydroponic basil, mint, kale, chard, lettuce, and watercress. Construction plans for the new facility are underway in anticipation of harvesting the first produce and fish by summer 2016.
“The founders of Urban Organics are very excited to collaborate with Pentair to bring commercial scale aquaponics farming into the main stream,” says David Haider, co-founder of Urban Organics and manager of the new St. Paul facility. “Our customers have encouraged us to expand and with our new operations we will provide them with consistent, weekly supplies of fresh fish and produce harvested locally at our urban farm throughout the year.”
The two companies first started working together when Urban Organics opened its inaugural aquaponics farm in 2014 in the former Hamm’s brewery building in St. Paul. Pentair, with its innovative technologies in water systems and solutions and biological and technical expertise, worked closely with Urban Organics to design, install and engineer the world-class system—one of the largest and most advanced aquaponics facilities in the country.
Aquaculture, or fish farming, is the world’s fastest-growing agriculture sector and produces more than 50% of the global seafood supply. Aquaponics is the combined culture of fish and hydroponic vegetable crops in a closed-loop, recirculating aquaculture system (RAS).
In aquaponics, fish provide the nutrients that plants need to grow, and the plants act as a filter to improve the water quality for the fish. Pentair has been instrumental in helping commercial operations around the globe integrate traditional fish farms and plant production with its RAS solutions.
Recently, Pentair announced the opening of its Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems’ World Aquaculture Technology Engineering & Research Center of Excellence in Apopka, Florida. The center, which consists of 12,400-square-feet of laboratories and fish culture systems, is used for demonstration, research and teaching activities.
Built to allow full connectivity to the Internet, customers and educational institutions are able to monitor online the progress of fish culture trials, including water quality, feeding, feed conversion ratios, growth rates, energy consumption and harvesting activities.
The World Aquaculture Technology Engineering & Research Center of Excellence is located on the campus of Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems, which houses offices, a customer contact center, and manufacturing and warehouse operations.