Joseph Lee Moderator • over 2 years ago
Problem Statement 15-19: "Build a model to analyze energy, environmental (water), and economic (E3) data for a minimum of 3 micro-hydro technologies used at aquaculture farms."
NOTE: This is a featured problem statement. Featured problem statements have been qualified for post-Fishackathon engagement by both the submitting party and by our expert panel. While all of the submitted problem statements qualify for the prizes, these have vetted for contunuation beyond the event itself.
There are many micro-hydro technologies available from international manufacturers that may be suitable for application at Armenian fish farms. However, micro-hydro technologies installed at Armenian fish farms should be sustainable from energy, environmental, and economic (E3) perspectives. The technology should: produce enough energy to power aerators and other on-site energy consuming devices; facilitate water and energy conservation; and be economically feasible for average Armenian fish farm owners.
An E3 analysis of micro-hydro options for Armenian fish farms will require data gathering on pressure and flow rates for fish farms to estimate the energy that could be generated with a micro-hydro system. Data will also need to be gathered from equipment manufacturers and local installers on costs to import and install the technologies. USAID Armenia has some of this information already and is able to access more detailed information through current networks, fish farms, and the Fish Farm Association.
Build a simple model to analyze energy, environmental (water), and economic data; populate the model with data specific to Armenian fish farms and micro-hydro technologies; and use the model to analyze at least three micro-hydro technologies applied to at least five Armenian fish farms and weigh the options against E3 factors. The output must be an easy-to-understand matrix of fish farms and micro-hydro technologies ranked by suitability. The model must be simple and accessible. The resulting model and output will be used by USAID Armenia as part of its Advanced Science & Partnerships for Integrated Resource Development (ASPIRED) program Science, Technology, Innovation & Partnerships (STIP) Signature Effort, under which at least two technologies with the objective of increasing energy efficiency and/or renewable energy generation will be developed, piloted, and evaluated. The analysis provided by the Fishackathon team will feed directly into the site and technology selection process for those pilot projects.
According to Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index, 70% of Armenia is under water stress, which impacts economic development and threatens livelihoods, food and energy security. Addressing groundwater resources in the Ararat Valley is a matter of utmost urgency as expressed by the Government of Armenia (GOA) and other stakeholders.
Water shortages are exacerbated by the growing groundwater demands by fish farmers in Armenia. Fish is one of few net export commodities for Armenia, making it a valuable industry for the country. However, increased unregulated water use causes significant pressures on available resources. Currently Armenian fish farms produce about 11,000 tons of fish annually and the Ministry of Agriculture’s strategy calls for increasing output to 25,000 tons. In 2013, groundwater use by fish farms exceeded sustainable levels, and the total use by all sectors in Ararat Valley was 1.6 times the level of available resources. Many water users self-report their water use, meters are easily tampered with, and illegal fish farms appear overnight.
Armenia possesses few raw materials, has no direct access to fossil energy, and imports over 80 percent of total energy resources, mostly from Russia. Fish farms present an opportunity to explore the energy-water nexus because they have significant water flow, both from the well and from cascading water from higher pools to lower pools at which it is possible to install micro-hydro electricity generators. Electricity produced from micro-hydro systems at fish farms could be used to power on-site aeration, lighting, heating, cooling, or other purposes. Micro-hydro systems would assist Armenia in achieving greater energy independence and security.
The GOA is reluctant to set policies without better understanding of the fish farm industry. A lack of understanding of the current state of aquifers and lack of reliable monitoring and geospatial data impedes enforcement and response from the government. Thus donors like USAID face challenges about how and where to focus resources. Lack of data to inform responsible water planning and permitting means that groundwater extraction will continue to occur at unsustainable levels.
Embassy of USA, 1 American Ave, Yerevan, Armenia
Organization Point of Contact (Name)
Organization Point of Contact (Title)
Science & Technology Advisor
Organization Point of Contact (Email Address)
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