Fish farming in marine containers – The solution developed in Luke meets the challenges of circulating aquaculture

Photo of author

By Milthon Lujan

Finland – A new fish farming method has been developed in Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). The method utilizes sea containers which have been converted into fish farming units.
The unit includes both a fish tank and the necessary water recycling technology. The container-based modular solution enables scalable plug-and-play farm solutions.
Luke has applied for a patent for the developed technology, and Business Finland’s Research to business funding of EUR 378,000 has just been granted for preparation of commercialization project.
The core idea of the developed fish farm concept is modularity and the utilization of multifunctional technologies in water treatment. “Modular concept brings savings in design costs, component manufacturing and procurement costs, and farm set-up costs,” says project leader Tapio Kiuru from Luke.
A prototype of a fish container unit has been tested in Laukaa. The on-going project will ensure the feasibility of the concept in terms of business and create the conditions for the commercialization of the concept. “The project will also bring together the necessary collaboration models and networks and will result in a business model and commercialization plans that will lay the groundwork for new business, whether in a start-up or existing company,” Kiuru explains.
The solution, which is assembled from ready-made modules, also enables the rapid assembly of the farm and the start of production. Production can be phased, and it can be flexibly scaled. The modular fish farm concept and the possibility of a simpler partial re-use of water instead of full recirculation also makes the implementation of new technology easier. “Luke’s method can meet several of the current key challenges in circulating aquaculture, such as high investment costs and, for example, high feed and labor costs,” adds Kiuru.
Luke has recently been successful in seeking funding for commercialization projects. Research to Business funding has been granted for the Natural Antivirals project, which develops new cosmetics and hygiene products based on natural compounds to control the coronavirus pandemic and future epidemics, and the Cucumber Factory project, which develops a novel vertical farming solution for high-wire crops.


Despite of the high and growing interest on Recirculation Aqua-culture Systems (RAS), biological problems and technical risks in the RAS concept have not been solved completely. Also, high investment costs are still a challenge and the grow-out RAS-farms have not yet proven their profitability. The profitability is now sought after by the economy of scale. Project sizes are therefore becoming too large for small and mediums size aquaculture companies.


Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) is preparing the commercialization of a novel modular shipping container concept for land-based fish farming. Luke’s modular shipping container concept uses mixed-cell raceway principle. Novel water circulation and treatment technology sup-ports high feeding levels and fish densities. Each container tank is a complete plug-and-play fish farming unit; only electricity and water connections are needed on-site. No underground piping is used in the concept. All water treatment processes are done directly in the fish tank, which allow effective process and space utilization. Modular units can be used as partial recycling units or as full RAS units depending on client’s needs.


Land-based modules that are based on shipping containers can be easily transported to any locations. Even inside existing buildings, due to the shape of the units and above the ground piping system. Simple and reliable partial recirculation process reduces risks of farming and investment costs. Ultra-low pumping head makes the process very energy efficient.

IPR status

Patent application, Water Circulation and Aeration System for Aquaculture Facility, Related Facility, Methods and Use, filed in Finland 5/2020 and corresponding PCT application filed 5/2021. The preparation of commercialization of modular Shipping Container Concept for Land-based Fish Farming is funded by Business Finland and Natural Resources Institute Finland.
Tapio Kiuru
Principal Specialist
tel. +358295327537
Jouni Peltomaa
Senior Specialist
tel. +358295322708
Source: LUKE


Leave a Comment