Tamil Nadu

Seaweed farming with new triangular rafts

Marine Algal Research Station (MARS) has developed an improved method of seaweed farming by using triangular rafts, an innovative design best suited for deep sea farming, Vaibhav A. Mantri, Senior Scientist and Scientist in-charge, MARS, said.

MARS had developed the new method in collaboration with Structural Engineering Research Station (SERC), Chennai, he told The Hindu here on Sunday.

“We have tested the method in shore water and deep sea and propose to unveil the method for commercial cultivation after perfecting the design,” he said, adding the SERC helped MARS to improve the model and study the simulation system.

The triangular raft design, which was simple and cost-effective, had improved manoeuvrability and required no specialised training for assembly, and more importantly, it could be practised at individual farmer level, he said.

Preliminary studies inferred that the design increased yield substantially per unit of cultivable area and assembly of triangular raft, in inverted ‘V’ shape, helped to reduce the drag force to increase stability, J. Rajasankar, Chief Scientist, SERC, said.

The triangular shape also enhanced algae growing as it was likely to experience less force from sea waves and there would be only minimum loss due to breakage, he said.

The other benefit of the triangular raft was that it allowed smooth flow of fresh seawater and “such a flow is confirmed to make continuous availability of nutrition to result in better growth of the algae,” Mr. Rajasankar said.

The pressure distribution in a triangular raft was found to be smooth compared to the rectangular raft, Mr. Mantri said. “We proposed to train the local seaweed growers and popularise the concept,” he added.

Currently square raft design was being popularly practised for cultivating several economically important seaweeds.

They worked well only in shore waters and could not be used in open sea, where currents were strong and destabilising forces dominant, he added.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 4:17:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/seaweed-farming-with-new-triangular-rafts/article7650058.ece

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