Mariculture will be one of the most, if not the single-most, important industries of the colonies of the Aquarius phase. Chief among the parallel industries associated with OTEC operation, mariculture could long be the primary export income producer for Aquarian colonies and physically dominate the environment of settlements by virtue of its large facilities area.
Mariculture is actually an ancient technology practiced by many traditional cultures. Its contemporary forms derive largely from these earlier techniques, differing primarily in scale, the more scientific analysis of animals and their culture environment, and in some cases a reliance on artificial environments –since near-shore waters have become impossibly polluted in many regions of the world. The colonies of Aquarius will rely on mariculture for far more than food. Many industrial products may be derived from marine plants and animal products and at some point even the very materials the colonies themselves are built with may be ‘farmed’. And the colonies will not be able to rely on imported industrially produced feedstocks from elsewhere, as is often the case with conventional mariculture. They must rely on the nutrient rich upwelling water from OTECs as the primary feedstock of their mariculture industry. To accomplish so much with this industry the Aquarius phase will rely on a radically more advanced approach to mariculture technique than is commonly in use today; polyspecies mariculture.
Polyspecies mariculture is the permaculture of mariculture, employing the same strategy of maximizing the diversity, efficiency, and self-sustainability of a culture system by engineering a whole ecology of interdependent organisms in a structured food chain, in this case starting with the most fundamental organisms in the natural marine ecology, algae. Algae will be the primary processor of the very raw chemical nutrients in OTEC discharge water, serving as the primary feedstock in the polyspecies ecology and one of the key sources of bulk industrial materials. Spirulina may be one of the key species cultivated for its potential as a food product by itself, but many additional species are likely to be cultivated including the many forms of seaweeds and lithophoric algae. Next in line in the major organism categories are the shellfish or mollusks, followed by crustaceans like shrimp, crabs, and lobsters that together will be primary consumers of algae, the particulate matter in the OTEC discharge, and the waste of other stages in the system. At the top of the food chain will be the finfish, with salmon tolerating the cooler temperatures of discharge water being a key cash-crop but the scale of Aquarius facilities also allowing for the cultivation of larger pelaegic fish such as tuna considered difficult for conventional mariculture.
Each 100MW OTEC will produce enough discharge to support mariculture facilities up to 2000 hectares and each full scale colony may feature anywhere from three to a dozen of these OTECs. How much of this potential mariculature production may be used will depend on the choice of the colonists, how important they deem mariculture to their community, and their ultimate colony design, but it’s clear these facilities will likely comprise the largest physical features of the settlement
- Pneumatically Stabilized Platforms - PSP
- Sea Towers
- Aquarian Digital Infrastructure
- Cold Water Radiant Cooling
- Large Area Cast Acrylic Structures
- Free-Range Fish Farming
- Terra Preta
- Cold-Bed Agriculture
- Small Space Animal Husbandry
- Tidal/Wave/Current Systems
- Algae-Based Biofuel Systems
- Vanadium Redox Systems
- Hydride Storage Systems
- Next-Generation Hydrogen Storage
- Alternative Hydrolizer Systems
- Supercritical Water Oxidation
- Plasma Waste Conversion