Commercial /

19 May 2024

Fuelling Scotland’s aquaculture

Gael Force Group and Cooke Aquaculture represent a considerable part of Scotland’s strong aquaculture sector, with both companies working in the industry for almost 40 years.

Gael Force Group manufacture and supply robust and reliable equipment to the aquaculture industry while Cooke Aquaculture uses the latest technology to provide the world with fresh seafood.

The partnership between the two companies enables Cooke Aquaculture to produce more quality salmon stock whilst simultaneously improving the efficiency of the operation.

Cooke commissioned Gael Force to manufacture a sector-leading concrete feed barge, suitably named the ‘SeaFeed 200T’.

The barge isn’t the type of barge you would expect to see pottering down the canal with a waving Rosie and Jim, but instead is a modern floating Tech-hub of an island storing up to 200 tonnes of fish feed.

The barge has four enormous silos, which deliver food in quantities and frequency, allowing the salmon to grow in an environment that closely mimics their natural habitat- a method of producing quality ‘organic’ salmon.

What makes the SeaFeed 200T unique is that it contains the UK’s first hybrid system using electricity to power the barge with a diesel generator as a backup when the batteries need a recharge. The hybrid approach provides much-needed energy security and helps reduce diesel emissions by around 60%, making it a more environmentally sound system.

Gael Force Group required an extremely durable, bespoke, bunded fuel storage tank manufactured with strict lead times to provide the generator with diesel. Each barge is custom-built depending on project requirements, with equipment with bespoke sizing often required to fit into the available spaces and allows easy removal if necessary. Unfortunately, when it came to Gael Force’s existing supplier, it was repeatedly disappointed as they failed to deliver, which risked delaying the barge’s critical departure date.

With the need to complete the project promptly, Gael Force’s Design and Project Engineer, Michael MacPherson, researched bespoke tank manufacturers. It was a relief when he stumbled across Tuffa.

Michael says, “When I approached Tuffa and explained the supply issues and the sense of urgency. I spoke with Dan; he was enthusiastic and confident they could step up and bring us back on track. Which they did!”

Michael’s reference to ‘Dan’ was Tuffa’s Technical Sales Consultant, Dan Simpson. Dan worked with Michael and his team to deliver the tank and elevate the design and specifications. This collaboration resulted in a steel, bunded oil tank built with a 5mm steel plate, a baffle to reduce fluid movement and tier-one ancillary equipment to correspond with the necessary site requirements.

With the tank manufactured to Gael Force’s strict deadlines and delivered to their site at Inverness’ Quayside, the barge building company began installing the tank. Installation access via a hatch on the barge, meaning a crane could lift it into position, where it was bolted to a frame to restrict movement during normal operations.

We caught up with Michael a little while after the installation was finished, and he said, “The Tuffa team were extremely helpful and, as importantly, reliable. Dan and the team were quick with their key responses. The tank was delivered on time and exactly as was consulted. We are delighted with the result. Because of this, next time we fabricate more for our new barges, we will be approaching Tuffa again.”

Dan Simpson concludes by saying, “Tuffa has built an excellent reputation for offering fantastic, reliable turnkey fuel and oil storage solutions. Our company is big enough to cope with the fast turnaround, but our culture shone through. What was exciting about this project was its end usage. It was great working with Michael. He is a forward-thinking engineer who was open to ideas and suggestions to make the manufacturing process seamless”.

Contact our friendly Sales team for more information and advice or quotes, including discounts on trade prices.

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