Economic Profitabilities In Fish Feed From Captured Methane

Economic Profitabilities In Fish Feed From Captured Methane
Economic Profitabilities In Fish Feed From Captured Methane

Inasmuch as there are several kinds of feeds for fish, the fish feed from captured methane is said (via research) to be one of the best [if not the best] sources of protein for cultured fish.

Before we begin to look into the economic possibilities in fish feed from captured methane, lets be sure that you know what the term AquaFeeds means.

Fish Feed
Fish Feed

What Is An AquaFeed?

This term refers to any feed for aquatic organisms as part of aquaculture (this is to say that it isn’t limited to only fish, rather all other aquatic animals like Shrimps, Aquatic Snails etc)

However, in this resource, we would be talking about the Fish.

Overview Of Fish Feed From Captured Methane

A research by Stanford University explained the economic possibilities in captured methane by bacteria, and its transformation into protein-rich feed for cultured fish.

Different Fish Feed
Different Fish Feed | Photo Credit: Fishfeedmachinery

This research discovered that the costs of production which involves methane captured from specific channels in the United states are relatively lower than the market cost for a conventional fishmeal.

Furthermore, it shows feasible cost reductions capable of making the approach profitable with use of other methane sources and could meet all international fishmeal demand.

“Industrial sources in the United States are emitting a real staggering quantity of methane, which is uneconomical to capture and use with present applications,”

The statement above was said by the research lead author Sahar El Abbadi, who went on the research as a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering.

“Our goal is to flip that paradigm, with use of biotechnology to produce a high-value product.”

Methane-Consuming Bacteria

A promising solution depends in methane-consuming bacteria known as methanotrophs.

Such bacteria can be farmed in a water-filled, chilled bio-reactor fed pressurized oxygen, methane, and nutrients like phosphorous, trace metals and nitrogen.

The resulting protein-rich biomass could be used as a fishmeal in aquaculture feed, offsetting demand for fishmeal emanating from little fish or plant-based feeds that need water, fertilizer and land.

“As some companies are already achieving this with pipeline natural gas as feedstock, a better feedstock would only be methane released at large oil and gas facilities, landfills and wastewater treatment plants”

The above statement was made by the research co-author Craig Criddle, known as a professor of civil and environmental engineering in Stanford’s School of Engineering.

“This would yield several benefits, including lower levels of potent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, positive financial results, and additional stable ecosystems”

More so, Stanford researchers created scenarios in which methane is gotten from relatively large landfills, wastewater treatment plants, oil and gas facilities, and even natural gas acquired from large natural gas grid. This analysis discussed a range of variables which includes availability of labour and electricity.

However, in the scenarios which involved the capture of methane capture from oil and gas facilities and landfills, the analysis determined the cost of methanotrophic fishmeal production to be $1,546 and $1,531 for a ton.

Respectively, were lower than the ten-year average market price of $1,600.

More so, for the scenario where the methane was gotten from wastewater treatment plants, the costs of production were slightly higher ($1,645 per ton) than the average market cost of fishmeal.

The scenario where methane was bought from the large grid led to the most expensive fishmeal production costs ($1,783 per ton ) as a result of the natural gas purchase cost.

Again, for each scenario, electricity cost the most, accounting for about 45 percent of the net cost on average.

Well, in states like Texas and Mississippi that have low electricity prices, costs of production reduced to about 20%, thereby making it possible to produce fishmeal from methane for $1,214/ton, or $386 less/ton than the production of conventional fishmeal.

Fish Feed From Captured Methane
Captured Methane | Photo Credit: Getty Image

Luckily, the electricity costs can be further brought down, the researchers claimed (by designing reactors that more efficiently transfer heat to require little cooling and switching electric-powered applications to those powered by “stranded gas” that could have been unused or wasted, which can further minimize the reliance on grid electricity for distant locations.

In scenarios which involved methane from wastewater treatment plants, the wastewater can be used to provide phosphorus, nitrogen, and even cooling.

In summary, if such efficiencies could reduce the cost of production of methanotroph-based fishmeal by 20 percent, then the process can profitably supply net international demand for fishmeal with methane captured only in the United States, the research reveals.

feeding fish in water

Similarly, such process is capable of replacing animal feeds and soybean, provided more cost reductions are achieved.

“Regardless of the decades of trials, the energy industry has had challenges in discovering a good use for stranded natural gas”

That was disclosed by one of the research co-authors Evan David Sherwin, a postdoctoral researcher in energy resources engineering at Stanford.

Economic Profitabilities In Fish Feed From Captured Methane
Economic Profitabilities In Fish Feed From Captured Methane

“As soon as we began researching on energy and food systems together, it became obvious that we could have a solution to at least two longstanding problems at all once.” he said.

References

Sustainable Aquafeeds

AquaFeeds – Responsible Seafood Advocate

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