It’s about more than just water
In the autumn of 2021, Akvafresh became part of our group – and what better way than to tell a little about the history behind this company when we now move forward together as FiiZK Aqua – our expert team on water quality and membrane filtration.
We had a chat with Per Kosberg who was one of the founders behind Akvafresh and who today works as a senior consultant and long-term development of products – FiiZK Future Technologies.
AkvaFresh was founded in 2015 with an office and workshop in Vanvikan. Per Kosberg started the company with the Lyng Group and Ragnar Lyng as an active and participating owner. Later, other well-known investors also joined as owners.
The starting point for the company formation was two-sided.
We registered an increasing need for fresh water in salmon farming for the treatment against lice. We saw the possibility that mobile desalination plants could supply the aquaculture industry with appropriate water delivered to the right place at the right time. This provided the basis for our first slogan: ‘Simply water’.
Owners and employees of AkvaFresh had expertise and experience with desalination of seawater for drinking water and other industrial uses. Several of us had been involved in the company Aqualyng, which Bjørn Lyng started in the Canary Islands with global operations in the early 2000s. Aqualyng produced and operated desalination plants based on reverse osmosis and partly proprietary technology.
The start of AkvaFresh was also the start of a development race of many years. From the very beginning, we wanted to run parallel races on ambitious R&D projects with research institutions, at the same time as we looked for opportunities for commercial sales of some well-known technology. From the very beginning, we had good contacts with important customers in salmon farming. Their clear wish was to use desalinated seawater directly in the cage so that one could reduce the lice problem without exposing the fish to harsh treatment. Many projects have been carried out with several major players, in particular Mowi. The research projects have taught us that there are very special requirements for ionic composition in the water for it to have a treatment effect, and it has proved challenging to create this type of stable water quality in an open system.
The focus has therefore to a greater extent turned towards processing the fish in a closed volume. Here it is easier to have control over the required water quality. There is a lot of complimentary knowledge in the FiiZK organization to create such a system. Therefore, we are now in the process of developing a completely new treatment method based on the knowledge in the former AkvaFresh and in FiiZK.
The goal of this method is to offer a lice treatment method that must be effective, it must be good in terms of fish welfare and better than other solutions, it must be cost-effective.
The work with the use of NF desalinated water for the treatment of salmon lice has resulted in an international patent that covers water production and treatment methods.
In the wake of desalination and lice control, AkvaFresh has also adopted other membrane-based water purification processes. We have introduced and used UF membranes for purification of both sea and fresh water. Through the UF process, pathogens, bacteria and viruses are removed from seawater, and freshwater in particular, is purified of humus and metals.
This was the starting point for our second slogan: ‘Less is more‘.
Applying new technology in new areas means a certain risk. We have seen that competent employees can solve unexpected challenges and that the customer greatly appreciates the ability to develop the pioneer projects. A little trouble along the way does not ruin the customer relationship if someone with knowledge and commitment contributes to solutions.
How we are organized in the FiiZK group
AkvaFresh’s 10-12 employees are currently divided into various divisions in the FiiZK family. Several of us work in the long-term development of new products and services. Some are integrated with the delivery projects on closed cages and water projects. Service and operations technicians are integrated into a team that will follow up on all types of physical deliveries.
Even though we are integrated within other divisions in FiiZK, it is still an individual business area to sell water treatment technology referred to as FiiZK Aqua. The process of selling this type of technology is time consuming and a bit complex. The facilities can, to a certain extent, be customised with regards to footprint, choice of membranes and desired water quality. Several from the former AkvaFresh community assist the sales department in designing the solution and calculating capex and opex.
We believe we can contribute to growth in FiiZK and in the aquaculture industry.