Safety Net? Norwegian Salmon farm gets mobile signal

Installing the world’s northernmost farm fleet power station.

Along the harsh and wild coast of northern Norway fish farming is big business. Here the fjords are deep, the mountains high, and civilization is far, far away. Salmon farmers work from rafts which have little or no access to power and the internet – and those which do have some form of communications have to rely on poor and intermittent signals to conduct their radio communications.

The key to more reliable communication is to site masts at strategic locations using the mountain peaks which offer line-of-site relays between each other, and down to the rafts far below in the fjords. Of course, these mountain peaks are remote, and are themselves not connected to grid power. Often they will be offshore – unconnected to the mainland.

In order to improve safety and efficiency a better communications infrastructure was needed.

Electronic Engineers AB Elektro were invited to build a standalone “node station” capable of supplying power to the various transmitters. AB Elektro spokesman Ole Aleksander Isaksen says: This was a new and very exciting project to embark on, so we just had to do it!

When it came to designing the power station the requirements were simple, but one thing was absolutely clear – owing to its remoteness and inaccessibility the electrical system had to be completely reliable! A single call-out due to component failure would  be very expensive; risky, too, as it’s not easy to pilot a helicopter to site: Áksonjárga – a hub-location – lies offshore, west of Magerøya, which is 10 km from the nearest road, 200 meters above sea level, and so steep that arriving by boat it’s impossible to get there on foot from the shore.

Isaksen added: Since we have a great deal of experience from work in the aquaculture industry and the maritime working environment in general, we naturally had some knowledge of Victron Energy products, so we knew we would feel safe using them for such a project.

To help select the Victron products which were best suited to our planned installation we contacted Gylling Teknikk AS. Their technicians impressed us with their knowledge of Victron Energy, and we knew they would be able to support us with any question we threw at them. They even took the time to visit us in Alta to introduce themselves. Further collaboration, proved us correct in our surmise that they are very competent in their work!

Inside the container we see:

  • Skylla 24/100 Battery Charger x2
  • SmartSolar MPPT 250/85 Solar Charge Controller
  • Venus GX for System Monitoring, Management and Communications
  • 2 x BMV 712 Battery Monitors
  • BlueSmart Battery Charger
  • Phoenix Inverter 24/500
  • Battery Storage is 24V 1200Ah in a bank of 20 Torrent TRE12-20 units
  • Back up Generator 6.9kVA

During the course of the project, we have become familiar with the components that are relevant to our use, with assistance from Gylling Teknikk AS, and now find it really easy to put together power stations, and there is flexibility in the types of stations we can build.

The final installation went smoothly; the station is now running autonomously without any problems, We are very happy with the result, and the customer is so happy that they have ordered a second power station.

We can now boast that AB Elektro is able to supply electricity even where it is not available! We foresee a long collaboration with Victron Energy products, and Gylling as the supplier. This will apply to other relevant installations – not just power stations.

By Justin Tyers

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