Geothermal for Aquaculture

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Geothermal for aquaculture involves utilizing geothermal energy to provide heat for aquaculture operations, such as fish farms and shellfish hatcheries. This technology offers a sustainable and cost-effective way to maintain optimal water temperatures for aquatic species, improving growth rates and reducing reliance on fossil fuels or electricity for heating.

Impact on climate action

  • Geothermal for Aquaculture under the Geothermal Energy theme catalyzes climate action by providing sustainable heating solutions for aquaculture facilities. By utilizing geothermal energy for temperature regulation, this innovation reduces reliance on fossil fuels, lowers carbon emissions, and promotes environmentally friendly practices in aquaculture, contributing to climate resilience.


  • Geothermal Energy Source: Geothermal energy can be sourced from various types of geothermal resources, including hydrothermal reservoirs, EGS (Enhanced Geothermal Systems), and shallow geothermal energy.
  • Heat Exchangers: Heat exchangers transfer heat from the geothermal fluid to the aquaculture ponds or tanks, maintaining optimal water temperatures for the aquatic species being cultivated.
  • Direct Use or Binary Cycle Systems: Geothermal energy can be used directly for low- to moderate-temperature applications or converted into electricity using binary cycle power plants for higher-temperature applications.
  • Water Quality Management: Geothermal systems for aquaculture need to ensure that the geothermal fluids used do not negatively impact water quality in the aquaculture ponds or tanks.
  • System Design and Optimization: Geothermal aquaculture systems require careful design and optimization to ensure efficient heat transfer and maintain optimal water temperatures for the specific species being cultivated.

TRL : 7-8

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Low-Temperature Geothermal Resources: Utilizing low-temperature geothermal resources for aquaculture can be cost-effective and efficient, as many aquatic species thrive in warm water temperatures.
  • Geothermal Heat Pumps: Heat pumps can be used to upgrade the temperature of geothermal fluids, making them suitable for higher-temperature aquaculture applications.
  • Cascaded Utilization of Geothermal Energy: Cascaded systems utilize geothermal fluids at different temperatures for multiple applications, maximizing energy efficiency and resource utilization. For example, the initial high-temperature geothermal fluid can be used for electricity generation, and the waste heat from the power plant can then be used for aquaculture.
  • Integrated Aquaculture Systems: Integrating aquaculture with other agricultural or industrial processes can create synergistic systems that utilize waste heat or nutrients from one process to benefit the other.

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  1. U.S. Geothermal Inc.:
    • Technology Enhancement: U.S. Geothermal Inc. focuses on developing geothermal energy projects for various applications, including aquaculture. Geothermal energy is utilized to provide stable and controlled temperatures for aquaculture facilities, supporting the growth and health of aquatic species.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: U.S. Geothermal Inc. stands out for its expertise in geothermal energy development and its application in aquaculture. By leveraging geothermal resources, they offer a sustainable and reliable energy source for maintaining optimal conditions in aquaculture operations, reducing dependency on conventional heating and cooling methods.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: U.S. Geothermal Inc. serves aquaculture businesses and facilities seeking cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions for temperature control. Their geothermal systems are deployed in fish farms, hatcheries, and aquaponics operations, providing efficient heating and cooling solutions for aquatic environments.
  2. Ormat Technologies:
    • Technology Enhancement: Ormat Technologies is a global leader in geothermal energy solutions, offering geothermal power plants and heating systems for various applications. Their geothermal technology can be adapted for aquaculture to provide consistent temperatures for fish farming and aquaponics systems.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Ormat Technologies stands out for its extensive experience in geothermal energy development and its ability to customize solutions for different applications, including aquaculture. Their geothermal heating systems offer a renewable and sustainable alternative to conventional heating methods, contributing to the efficiency and environmental sustainability of aquaculture operations.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Ormat Technologies serves aquaculture companies and farmers looking to optimize production efficiency and reduce operating costs. Their geothermal systems are deployed in aquaculture facilities worldwide, providing reliable and cost-effective heating solutions for fish tanks, ponds, and recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS).
  3. Icelandic Aquaculture:
    • Technology Enhancement: Icelandic Aquaculture specializes in sustainable aquaculture practices, including the utilization of geothermal energy for temperature control. In Iceland, geothermal resources are abundant and are utilized to provide stable water temperatures for fish farming operations.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Icelandic Aquaculture stands out for its integration of geothermal energy into aquaculture operations and its commitment to sustainable aquaculture practices. By harnessing geothermal heat, they can maintain optimal water temperatures year-round, creating ideal conditions for fish growth and minimizing environmental impact.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Icelandic Aquaculture serves the aquaculture industry in Iceland and beyond, providing sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions for fish farming. Their use of geothermal energy contributes to the resilience and efficiency of aquaculture operations, supporting the production of high-quality seafood while minimizing energy consumption and carbon emissions.c

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  1. Oregon Institute of Technology:
    • Research Focus: Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) conducts pioneering research on utilizing geothermal energy for aquaculture applications, leveraging its expertise in geothermal engineering, renewable energy, and aquaculture sciences.
    • Uniqueness: Their research focuses on developing integrated geothermal-aquaculture systems that utilize geothermal heat for maintaining optimal water temperatures in aquaculture facilities. They investigate novel heat exchange technologies, system designs, and water management strategies to enhance energy efficiency, minimize environmental impacts, and maximize fish production.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in sustainable aquaculture production, fish farming, and food security. By harnessing geothermal energy for aquaculture, Oregon Tech’s research contributes to reducing reliance on fossil fuels, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting local food production in geothermal-rich regions.
  2. University of Idaho:
    • Research Focus: University of Idaho conducts innovative research on integrating geothermal energy with aquaculture systems, drawing on its expertise in geosciences, engineering, and fisheries biology.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves assessing the feasibility, economic viability, and environmental sustainability of geothermal-aquaculture projects in diverse geological settings. They explore site characterization techniques, well drilling technologies, and heat transfer mechanisms to optimize geothermal resource utilization and aquaculture productivity.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), hydroponic agriculture, and thermal energy storage. By coupling geothermal energy with aquaculture, University of Idaho’s research supports the development of resilient food production systems, enhances resource efficiency, and promotes economic development in rural communities.
  3. University of Iceland:
    • Research Focus: University of Iceland conducts leading-edge research on leveraging geothermal resources for aquaculture purposes, leveraging its expertise in geology, geophysics, and marine biology.
    • Uniqueness: Their research explores the utilization of geothermal waters for maintaining optimal water temperatures, nutrient supplementation, and disease control in aquaculture operations. They investigate the compatibility of geothermal fluids with aquatic species, the potential for co-located geothermal power generation and aquaculture facilities, and the environmental impacts of geothermal-aquaculture systems.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in freshwater and marine aquaculture, hot spring fisheries, and integrated energy-agriculture-aquaculture systems. By harnessing geothermal energy for aquaculture, University of Iceland’s research contributes to food security, renewable energy development, and sustainable land use practices in geothermally active regions.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Geothermal energy is being used for aquaculture in various regions around the world, particularly in areas with abundant geothermal resources. For example, Iceland utilizes geothermal energy extensively for aquaculture, with numerous fish farms and hatcheries using geothermal heat to maintain optimal water temperatures.