Innovative organic shrimp farm in the Alps uses Xylem pump solution

Entrepreneurs Daniel Flock and Markus Schreiner turned to Xylem with an extraordinary project: they wanted to breed “White Tiger” shrimp in the middle of Austria, without the use of chemicals and antibiotics.

In order to successfully farm the shrimp, native to Asia, Xylem installed a pump system in rearing and filtration tanks that keeps almost 700,000 litres of water in constant motion, with no wastewater produced.

White Tiger shrimp are usually imported from Asia, often raised in conditions with low environmental standards. Medicines and chemicals are added to the water, which the shrimp absorb, in order to increase the yield.

“Anyone who has taken a closer look at shrimp farming abroad would probably want to avoid the product,” explained Stefan Lenz, Austria’s Chef of the Year 2015, in the ÖGZ gastronomy magazine. Flock and Schreiner agreed, and began to pursue their vision of organic shrimp farming in The Alps, with expert advice from Xylem.

Creating a tropical climate and a constant temperature
In Hall in Tirol, Austria, Xylem technicians began developing an optimal solution.

“In discussions and on site, we precisely defined all the parameters and developed our concept,” says Xylem technician Manuel Schreder. “This concept convinced the clients in terms of price, performance and the result. With Xylem’s broad product portfolio, we can offer pumps for all kinds of challenges. Our design was also modular, so it can be expanded later without any problems.”

The biggest challenge to solve was the conditions in the hall with the rearing tanks. Inside there is a tropical climate with almost 100 percent humidity, and the saltwater must maintain a constant temperature of 28 to 30 degrees Celsius. This poses major problems for common electrical systems.

“We decided to use Xylem’s saltwater-resistant plastic pumps, which are designed as double pumps to ensure operational safety,” says Daniel Flock, founder of Alpenaquafarm Tirol GmbH.

A complex pumping system for a delicate operation
A sophisticated system is used to circulate and treat the water, so that no wastewater is produced. This is done in specially constructed tanks and is fully automated. Additional biofilters accelerate the process and ensure the health of the shrimp. The balance of the water is maintained by constant controls and measurements. Water is only added to compensate for evaporation.

From the rearing tanks, water runs through a biofilter to the filtration tanks. There two Genesis whirlpool pumps increase the oxygen content of the water. After this process, Argonaut pumps made of highly resistant polypropylene send the treated water back to the rearing tanks.

The pumps are able to easily pump liquids with small solid particles without causing blockages. This is particularly important because nutrients are added to the water in order to achieve optimal shrimp growth. The pumps continuously move at least 35 litres of water per second through the system.

To keep energy consumption as low as possible, the building that houses the rearing tanks is highly insulated, like a fridge. In order to further improve the efficiency of the farm, solar heating is used. The solar system on the roof heats a water-glycol mixture. Xylem’s Lowara-brand Ecocirc XL pump circulates the mixture between the roof and a heat exchanger, ensuring that the main heating system only has to work on cloudy days without any sun.

“We checked and tested the entire structure,” says Xylem technician Manuel Schreder. “This project underscores how committed Xylem is to helping our customers achieve perfect results.”

The innovative Alpenaquafarm organic shrimp farm is already a success. Orders for sustainably produced white tiger shrimp are being received from all over Austria, Germany and Italy.