WTOP – A Baltimore-based company Solar Oysters LLC is building barges powered by solar energy that take up significantly less space in the water than typical aquaculture facilities, which can spread acres wide on the bottom of rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.
Mark Rice, a manager at Solar Oysters LLC, which has been testing production on smaller barges in the waters near Solomons Island said he hopes by 2022 that, “we are producing 2.4 million oyster in a spot of water that’s 90 by 53 feet.”
Instead of using cages at the bottom of the water, the barges work vertically.
The machines rotating the cages are powered by solar panels placed on each barge. Every other day, those oyster-filled cages are power-washed clean.
“By hanging oysters in the water column, we expose them to clean water, more oxygen, better salinity and more food sources,” Rice said.
Each barge grows the oysters from the 10 spat on a shell until each oyster is about half an inch wide.
In the coming months, the company is expecting to build barges with 20-by-20-foot platforms (which grows about 300,000 oysters).