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Geofood project investigates use of geothermal heat for RAS

October 29, 2019  By  Nestor Arellano

Researchers at Wageningen University and Research are investigating geothermal energy for rearing fish on land. (Source: Joyce Fabriek, WUR)

Geothermal heating has long been used to warm greenhouses, but can it also be used to breed fish in land-based farms?

That’s the question Dutch researchers working on the Geofood project want to answer. Geofood is a collaboration between the Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and partners from Iceland, Slovenia, and the Netherlands.

RAS installations require constant water temperature. In greenhouse horticulture, geothermal heating systems provide heat for plants during winter. There is no need for much heat during the summer, so a surplus of heat is created. Selling of heat to land-based fish farms could be a revenue source for cultivators, according to Wageningen University & Research.


As part of the project, a recirculating aquaculture system equipped with monitoring technologies was constructed at WUR to enable the researchers to collect data. The RAS contains about 10,000 litres of water and thousands of fish.

WUR has developed an energy model for the combination of geothermal-greenhouse horticulture-aquaculture.

Data is collected on factors such as water quality, temperature, water consumption and CO2 produced by the fish.

The research is carried out in collaboration with partners from Iceland, Slovenia and the Netherlands, according to WUR.

Algae production and food processing processes are also being investigated as potential applications for circular food systems that run on geothermal energy.

Funding for the research comes from the European GEOTHERMICA – ERA NET Cofund Geothermal. Dutch participation in the project is supported by RVO and Top Sector Horticulture & Propagation Materials.


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