Belgian tomato grower delivers heat and electricity to fish farm

The new Aqua4C fish farm officially opened in Kruishoutem, Belgium this month. At the fish farm everything is being done to sustainably breed omega perch. This includes the use of residual heat and electricity from the adjacent Tomato Masters tomato nursery. Whether the residues of the nursery can be brought back into the greenhouse is also being researched.

200 tons of omega perch should annually come from fish farm Aqua4C in Kruishoutem. The company officially opened this month and is fully focused on the sustainable production of omega perch. So the fish only get vegetable foods and the company uses the waste heat and electricity from the adjacent tomato nursery Tomato Masters (10 ha). Johan Vlaemynck of Tomato Masters: "The water in the fish tanks must be 27 degrees. And the company’s water pumps need electricity." Power lines have therefore been installed between the tomato nursery and the fish farm. "Because we deliver business to business energy, it’s a win-win situation. They save on production costs and we get a higher price than when we inject it back into the grid."

Close water circulation
If left to the companies, the heat and electricity supply is just the beginning of their cooperation. Research is being done as to the possibility of setting up a joint water cycle. Rainwater collected in the Tomato Masters greenhouses could be used in Aqua4C’s fish tanks for aquaculture. The water can then be used as irrigation water in the tomato nursery. Vlaemynck: "That water still contains nutrient elements to feed our plants. Regular fish food is too salty, but because these fish just eat vegetable foods, we could save 25% on fertilizer in this way. And Aqua4C would only have to discharge 10% of their used water. We can use the other 90%."

Since July tests are being done at PCG East Flanders research station, located in the same street as Tomato Masters and Aqua4C, to see if this is a realistic future vision. For this tomato plants have been placed behind nine fish tanks. The PCG will test the effect of different doses of fishing water on the growth, production and flavor of the tomatoes for another year and a half, in collaboration with the nurseries and fish feed supplier Lambert Seghers. "It would be a unique sales argument," says Vlaemynck. "But we need to be able to guarantee production and food safety. That’s what we are researching."

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