Norwegian A-team goes offshore. This is Big Dipper

Aslak Berge

It is massive. 194 meters in diameter, with a Spar-rig as the design principle. And it doesn’t stop at just farming salmon in the Norwegian territorial waters. 

The idea to establish a company that focuses exclusively on farming at sea was conceived in 2017. The founders, Svein Reppe and Håvard Wollan, immediately set about developing a separate design concept for a farming facility that would be optimal for biological production, in all the world’s oceans and regardless of weather conditions, and which should be suitable for farming both salmon and other fish species.

The result was the Aqualoop Big Dipper solution, and this design concept was granted a Norwegian patent in 2019.

For SalmonBusiness’ readers, Håvard Wollan and Svein Reppe are best known for their leading positions in Biokraft and NSL (now Seafood Companies).

More profitable
“We believe that fish farming out in the open sea will be more profitable than other types of fish farming,” chairman of Aqualoop, Håvard Wollan, says.

Along the way, several people have joined the founding team, among others, investors Bjørn Egil Larsen (former COO of SalMar) and Åsbjørn Vavik (former CEO of Songa Offshore).

The development in the company was financed in the first years by the founding team, with a contribution from Innovation Norway. This spring the company made an emission in which Bjørn Flatgård, former chairman of SalMar, joined.

Earlier this autumn, Bård Skjelstad was appointed as CEO of Aqualoop. He came from the position as CTO at ScaleAQ.

Bård Skjelstad

Big Dipper withstands really tough weather conditions, up to HS16–18, which means that the solution can be used in all the world’s oceans – whatever the weather conditions.

The rig has the unique feature that the farming volume can be lowered 20-30 meters below the sea surface, which reduces the force stress and thus construction costs, and at the same time ensures good handling of the fish in stormy weather.

The Aqualoop Big Dipper also contains functionality for using normal smolt (70–100 grams) straight from the hatchery and into the sea rig, and the rig is therefore not dependent on using so-called large smolt.

The rig is equipped with a large feed storage, of 5,000 tonnes, to safeguard against weather challenges.

Up to 20,000 tonnes of fish
“An Aqualoop Big Dipper has a capacity of 15-20,000 tonnes of food fish a year, depending somewhat on which production plan you get permission to follow, and we are reasonably sure that our solution has an attractive investment cost per production capacity. In general, we believe that aquaculture at sea will be very profitable,” Bård Skjelstad says to SalmonBusiness.

Aqualoop wants to use the rig for farming salmon in the North Atlantic in the first instance, but it does not want to limit itself to Norwegian sea areas.

“We are working with several applications for permits for aquaculture at sea related to Norwegian sea areas of the North Atlantic, but also outside Norway,” he confirms.

“In the long term, we will address the opportunities linked to other sea areas and also other fish species and temperature zones,” Skjelstad adds.

The AquaLoop concept design. Illustration: AquaLoop

Related Articles