SINTEF is Scandinavia’s largest independent research organisation. The research institute is strongly involved in the development of European aquaculture. Bridge-building between biological and engineering sciences is important for the institute to serve a more complex, advanced, future aquaculture industry with knowledge. It develops, organises and operates the large-scale infrastructure specialised for serving RTDI on technology used in sea based aquaculture (within a licence of production of 2340 t salmon and a seaweed production site).

SINTEF offers two unique installations: 1) ACE Facility for large scale testing of solutions for seabased aquaculture: 4 industrial-scale salmon farm sites with up to 15 circular net pens (157m in circumference and 30m deep) culturing Atlantic salmon, equipped with a range of environmental sensors; and 2) Norwegian Seaweed Technology Center (NSTC) composed of NSTC-Sealab (laboratory/hatchery for macroalgae cultivation) and NSTC-Seafarm (two field sites at the coast). The center has licence for cultivating 7 different macroalgae species.


Infrastructure: SINTEF ACE

Location: Farm sites along the Norwegian coast close to Trondheim, NORWAY

Web site address:

Contact: Nina Blöcher (


SINTEF ACE is an industry scale infrastructure developed for testing and verification of improved and new technical and operational solutions in sea-based aquaculture. SINTEF has research licenses for industry scale production of Atlantic salmon, and this allows offering a combination of industry scale facilities for salmon farming, flexible technology test sites at different exposure levels, and state-of-the-art monitoring and communication equipment. The primary focus is on equipment and operations for the on-growing stages of salmon at exposed sea sites. The infrastructure will promote engineering developments for a more sustainable marine aquaculture production, also including the possibility to study the interaction between technology and biology. The infrastructure consists of salmon farming sites in four geographical locations along the coast of Mid-Norway. This allows for experiments with different degrees of exposure, and different production cycles (time of year for deployment of fish)

SINTEF ACE is integrated in the SINTEF e-Infrastructure for secure and controlled access to laboratory facilities (SINTEF SeaLab). This includes support for data capture, storage, and analysis of environmental and operational data. The e-Infrastructure also provides live video and on-line access to sensors and actuators, thus enabling remote configuration, monitoring and operation of equipment. Additional support tools, computing clusters and database servers as well as graphical processing equipment and displays are installed at SINTEF SeaLab in Trondheim. The picture below shows deployment of load shackles for measuring tension in anchoring systems. Data series are transferred via broadband connections to SINTEF SeaLab.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure

The current services are focused on industry scale salmon farming and on facilities for testing sea-based aquaculture technology. Technical personnel, scientists and equipment are available on site depending on the project requirements. All operational and project specific data from SINTEF ACE are stored at SINTEF SeaLab and are made available through the e-Infrastructure. On-line remote access to SINTEF ACE contributes to more efficient use of resources during design, setup and monitoring of experiments, and also for analysis and dissemination of results.

Depending on the project requirements, four sites in different stages of the production cycles and different degrees of exposure (waves, currents) are available. The fish used in each cycle will have a documented genetic background, and low variance in treatment and handling. The sites/cages are equipped with sensors that continuously measurements and document environmental conditions. Operational data (type of feed, feeding rates, sea lice treatments, biomass growth estimates etc) are also available. Infrastructure for efficient installation of project related equipment is available on every cage, including communication interfaces for remote monitoring and data transfer via SINTEF SeaLab. Reference measurements are supplied by an environmental monitoring buoy, also accessible through SINTEF SeaLab. Other available equipment includes:

• Remote controlled units: ROV, UAS/RPAS

• Structural sensors: accelerometer, load shackles, depth sensors

• Biomass sensors: echolocators (single beam), sonar (split beam), camera

• Environment sensors: oxygen, temperature, salinity, current, waves, wind, chlorophyll

Modality of access

The modality of access is flexible, ranging from on-site visits on the farming sites, to remote access to data from other consortium infrastructures (via logon to SINTEF SeaLab). The experimental set-up has to be discussed and planned in advance with the facility provider, e.g. number of cages, sensor equipment, size and quantity of fish present, and quantity of fish samples. The e-Infrastructure communication network is divided into several VLAN’s (Virtual Local Area Networks). Access to the relevant VLAN and the resources on that VLAN is given on a per user basis (password protected). All connections to external data acquisition equipment (e.g. sensors, video cameras) are routed to a VLAN dedicated to this purpose, thus limiting the risk for unauthorized access to other resources.

Scientific and technical support will be available both for visits to SINTEF ACE and for remote access through SINTEF SeaLab. This includes boat transport between shore and farming sites, necessary safety equipment and clothing for operations at sea. On-site installation of project related equipment will be conducted by the technical support staff to minimize the risk for personnel and operations. Documented time series of environmental and operational data will be available through SINTEF SeaLab on a site/cage basis, along with environmental reference data for the coastal area. A limited number of fish samples are analysed on a monthly basis, these samples can also be used for project related special analysis. Scientific and technical support includes appropriate sampling and conservation of samples. In addition to live video feeds from SINTEF ACE, meeting rooms with video conferencing will be available, enabling visiting scientists to communicate with colleagues and other research groups during experiments.

Unit of access

The unit of access is defined as one week, equalling the occupation of the SINTEF ACE facility during 5 days of 7.5 hours each for up to 2 persons.


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