IRTAmar® versus traditional RAS production

One of the first questions we get asked by our colleagues and customers is, what is the difference between a traditional production RAS and an IRTAmar? There are multiple differences and today we are going to try to explain the main ones.

Krüger Kaldnes AS Kaldnes® RAS (Photo: Krüger Kaldnes) vs IRTAmar50

The first difference is defined by the different objectives of one system and the other. A production RAS aims to maximize production and obtain the highest possible biomass, while an IRTAmar is a RAS designed for research, maintaining a stable water quality throughout the experiment so that the only variable of the trial carried out by the researcher is those that the researcher himself proposes in his working hypothesis and avoid that the quality of the water and its possible variations can ruin your essay.

Production systems, implicitly, have a large volume of water and a high biomass with the aim of achieving maximum production at the lowest possible cost, while maintaining sufficient water quality. This large mass of water means that the physicochemical changes that occur naturally throughout RAS are somewhat dampened and our response time to any anomaly may be longer, on the other hand, in IRTAmar the opposite occurs, as they are designed to work with small volumes of water, normally using triplicates of tanks so that each tank is a batch and to be able to have the necessary replicas in a system Statistically, it causes our system to have a limited body of water and any small variation in the balance of water quality forces us to react quickly and inevitably automated.

The parameters we automate are:

  • Injection of oxygen into the water to maintain the desired concentration in a stable way over time.
  • Required recirculation flow rate based on mass balance calculations (desired oxygen concentration, maximum permissible ammonium level, solids removal, desired temperature)
  • We keep the pH stable at all times thanks to the injection of a strong base (NaOH) working within the optimal values of each species.
  • We keep the temperature stable thanks to the reversible heat pumps that allow both cooling and heating the grow water with a margin of +/- 1ºC with respect to the set temperature.
  • Fish feeding system for nutrition trials.
  • Adaptive photoperiod lighting for each species and simulation of dawn and dusk with light intensity ramps.

This automation is always accompanied by a control and alarm system that gives the researcher the necessary confidence to be able to focus on what is really important for the trial and forget about the problems related to the handling of a RAS and its possible incidents.

The IRTAmar have a SCADA computer application for monitoring, supervision and control that effectively manages all the elements that can be automated, with the IRTAmar software it is possible to monitor the status of the entire installation, control the installation remotely, reduce costs due to breakdowns, carry out preventive maintenance of the equipment from a single easy-to-use and intuitive application,   With report dumps and the recording of all parameters with absolute traceability, we know that the data we extract from the equipment is very valuable for researchers’ publications.

On the other hand, we find that universities or research centers usually have little space to locate these systems, which is why our engineering department optimizes the hydraulic circuit with three premises: the lowest possible pressure loss, the smallest possible occupied space and ease of use. We also know the needs of these centres in terms of flexibility and transportability of the systems, the IRTAmar are easily transportable as they are mounted on plastic pallets and with the same model the equipment adapts to the different phases of culture (larvae, fingerling, broodstock …) reaching the quality of water necessary at all times and for each species.

Another difference between a production RAS and IRTAmar is the quality of its materials, adapted for both freshwater and saltwater, always using plastic or fiberglass materials. We build high-end scientific equipment, not in vain, one of the virtues of this equipment is its robustness and durability, at IRTA we continue to work like the first day with equipment that is already 25 years old.

Carrying out tests and experiments with an IRTAmar is a guarantee of safety, traceability and flexibility that every researcher needs, with the confidence of knowing that centres such as IRTA, AZTI tecnalia, CSIC, Polytechnic University of Valencia and others have been working with IRTAmar for many years.

SOMMAR Platfom

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