Transitioning Sea Farms to Clean Battery Power

Project Overview

Project Type: Research Only
Funds awarded in 2023: $198,750.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2025
Grant Recipient: The Boat Yard, LLC
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Project Leader:
Nick Planson
The Boat Yard, LLC


Not commodity specific


  • Energy: renewable energy
  • Natural Resources/Environment: other
  • Production Systems: other
  • Sustainable Communities: other, sustainability measures, values-based supply chains

    Proposal abstract:

    In this effort, TBY will expand our work with the aquaculture industry to build and deploy battery solutions to power on-water farming and harvesting operations. We will build, from existing prototypes, a suite of clean power solutions that can be safely operated in wet environments to replace gas and diesel generators currently used by sea farms. We will evaluate what equipment to use, how much battery capacity is needed for operations, which electric motors and pumps to use, and how the batteries will be recharged to address the current gaps in knowledge in this area.

    By researching, building, and deploying battery solutions for sea farms through this project, we will help transition the aquaculture industry away from fossil fuel generators. Our innovation will create much-needed alternatives for sea farmers whose current fossil fuel-dependent systems are noisier, more expensive to fuel and maintain, and pollute. The benefits of battery power make it an attractive solution to sea farmers everywhere.

    Led by PI Nick Planson, TBY will accomplish this goal of building a suite of clean power solutions for sea farms through seven project objectives as described later in this application: 1) Survey sea farmers about power needs on their farms, identifying greatest needs; 2) Aggregate specifications and catalog available batteries and components to service aquaculture needs; 3) Identify equipment that can be powered using DC power from batteries; 4) Create a suite of battery-powered solutions that can be replicated by individual sea farms or customized, modified, and installed by TBY; 5) Perform a cost-benefit analysis of battery-powered solutions vs. fossil fuel generators; 6) Deploy and test portable battery-powered systems on sea farms, and 7) Conduct outreach to sea farmers, Extension professionals, and other stakeholders. We will perform a number of tasks to test, evaluate, and develop our suite of power solutions including:

    • Complete Duty Cycle analyses on at-sea farm equipment
    • Identify replacement equipment that can be powered by batteries
    • Identify optimal batteries and wiring to power that equipment
    • Identify various charging solutions for batteries
    • Acquire and test each prototype configuration in workshop and at sea, gather and document performance relative to required duty cycles
    • Address performance issues
    • Deploy configurations on sea farms, test, and document feedback

    Farmers have a high interest in reducing their environmental impact through decreased air, water, and noise pollution. Farmers are also highly motivated by the potential to save money in fuel and maintenance costs for their tools. Many aquaculture species clean the water as they grow – processing them with zero-carbon solutions will further enhance their environmental benefits and will lead to a carbon-neutral or carbon-negative supply chain.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    TBY will build a suite of clean power solutions, from existing products, for the marine aquaculture industry. The technology is proven cost-effective and reliable – now it needs to be simplified and standardized to make it easily accessible by all sea farmers. Replacing gas and diesel generators and pumps with battery-powered alternatives will reduce operating costs, the industry’s carbon footprint, noise affecting neighbors and workers, and eliminate the possibility of fuel and oil spills.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.