The largest and most modern indoor shrimp farm in Europe will soon be built at the Sigmundshall site, near Hanover, in Germany. This has been contractually agreed between K+S and the start-up Aquapurna. K+S is investing an amount in the low double-digit million euro range in this sustainable project and is acting as builder, landlord, and media supplier for the new farm. Aquapurna is receiving a further seven-figure investment from private investors.
“We are very pleased that with Aquapurna we will be establishing a sustainable business model in our Innopark on a large scale, which also meets the interests of the stakeholders in this region,” says Carsten Möller, Head of the Sigmundshall site and the Innopark.
For his part, Saban Bala, responsible for the further development of the Innopark at K+S, assures: “The project is a perfect strategic step for K+S for the subsequent use of the existing infrastructure at the former Sigmundshall potash site.”
“Together with the globally operating industrial company K+S, we are making a significant contribution to sustainable and autonomous food supply in Europe,” emphasizes David Gebhard, Managing Director of Aquapurna, while co-Managing Director Florian Gösling adds: “K+S shares our conviction of a better world through the sustainable use of green technologies.”
All steps take place in Germany
Imported shrimp are often associated with ecological problems such as the destruction of mangrove forests and bycatch. Other technical solutions in Europe are often too expensive and not sufficiently scalable. Aquapurna therefore relies on green and sustainable technologies that revolutionize shrimp farming and minimize the environmental impact. K+S and Aquapurna are convinced that this investment will significantly contribute to sustainable shrimp farming and environmental protection.
Aquapurna has been conducting intensive research and development for over four years with its own R&D center at the Sigmundshall site. Furthermore, a vertically integrated larviculture system has been implemented: All steps, from the shrimp egg to the shrimp on the plate, take place in Germany.
The company benefits from the expertise of an experienced management team that has built up successful sustainable aquaculture projects in Europe and Singapore, as well as a technology partnership with one of the world market leaders in land-based aquaculture, Billund Aquaculture, from Denmark. From “lab scale” to industrial prototype, scaling up to the first “large scale” farm is now the next logical step.
Built in three phases
The new shrimp farm is to be built in three phases. In its final state, the aim is for the complex to consist of two production halls with a floor area of approximately 18,000 square meters.
This is equivalent to more than two soccer pitches. K+S has made a corresponding area available for this purpose. In the first construction phase from 2024 to mid-2025, a production hall and a supply and infrastructure wing with a size of approx.
4,000 square meters will be built. The roofs of the production halls will later also be fitted with solar panels to generate environmentally friendly electricity. Modern recirculation technology will be installed for the grow-out process, with over 98% of the grow-out water being continuously reused and little waste water being produced. A farm capacity of up to 800 tones of shrimp per year is planned. A total of around 50 jobs are expected to be created on site.
Besides the new building in the upstream area of the former mine, Aquapurna will continue to operate and expand the existing shrimp facility at the site, including the R&D center, and will also rent additional office space in Sigmundshall. The use of further K+S infrastructure, including a training center as well as a significant increase in the capacity of the existing hatchery, is currently being evaluated.
The cooperation between the two companies was established through the RootCamp innovation hub. RootCamp is based in Hanover and is a platform connecting established companies and start-ups to implement new approaches and business models quickly and efficiently. K+S became a founding partner of RootCamp in 2020.
As part of the acceleration program there and due to the ongoing support from the RootCamp team, the start-up Aquapurna successfully developed. This was followed by a successful search for investors as well as the establishment of the company in the K+S Innopark at the Sigmundshall site in Wunstorf near Hanover.