Sustainable fish farming with smart data management from SAS

Huizen, 24 August 2021 - ASC-MSC certified marine algae producer Veramaris is introducing the SAS® Viya® analytics suite as part of the company’s digital journey. This will transform its production and testing plant based in Nebraska, USA, into a data-driven factory that is helping to build the future of sustainable animal nutrition. By continuously improving both the product quality and processes, SAS will contribute to Veramaris' sustainable mission to expand the world’s access to certified sustainable EPA & DHA Omega-3.

Veramaris is a joint venture between DSM and Evonik, global giants in science and chemicals. The parent companies combined forces over their shared vision to conserve marine life by using natural marine microalgae to produce the richest source of EPA & DHA Omega-3, an alternative to fish oil for the aquaculture and pet industries.

A circular vision for the fish industry
EPA & DHA Omega-3 are essential fatty acids for both human and animal health. Traditionally derived from wild-capture pelagic forage fish like anchovies, herrings, and sardines to produce fish oil. The global supply of these forage fish has declined significantly creating a bottleneck for the industry to grow within planetary boundaries and therefore creating a demand for more sustainable alternatives that can consistently provide both EPA & DHA Omega-3.

Herve Hartmann, Managing Director of Veramaris, says: "A fish can only grow up to be healthy if it has sufficient levels of EPA & DHA Omega-3. You can compare Omega-3 with a microchip in your smartphone; it is an ingredient that many animals cannot live without. At Veramaris, we have developed this biotechnology that produces natural marine algal oil in-house, without having to harvest it from wild catch fish. We have bypassed several steps in the food chain by extracting the same essential nutrients from natural micro-algae that enable us to provide an oil rich in both EPA & DHA Omega 3 fatty acids."

Veramaris’ proprietary technology allows for the production of its natural marine algal oil at scale. With this pioneering method, the company can satisfy over 15% of the world's demand for Omega-3 fatty acids for salmon farming. And that’s not all, it is also used to grow shrimp, trout, steelhead trout, yellowtail, largemouth bass, seabream, seabass, and the list is growing. The state-of-the-art Veramaris production facility in Nebraska, USA, is currently the largest algae oil plant in the world and produces an algae oil of consistent richness in both EPA & DHA Omega 3, 365 days a year which is an important requirement from customers

Hartmann: "After the start of the production phase, we quickly asked ourselves how we could continue our digital roadmap and at the same time monitor the production process as efficiently as possible. That's where SAS comes in to help us realise our ambitions."

Data as part of the value chain
To reach industrial scale and drive the current production process forward, digitisation is indispensable and now fully integrated into the plant's processes, involving machinery and laboratory equipment. Veramaris wanted to take the combination of software and hardware to the next level and generate insightful data streams 24/7 to improve the process. A key priority is to streamline thousands of data points that provide insight into the testing and production process. This enhanced ability to analyse data is a benefit to auditors and operators alike. As these advanced analytics ensure a continuous improvement to operations, they will result in high product quality which will enable Veramaris to further satisfy the needs of customers in a variety of new channels and segments.

Wim Mues, Regional Director Manufacturing at SAS: "The process behind the breeding and feeding of fish is much more complicated than people think and much more advanced than, for example, with poultry. Veramaris is a good example of the connected industry 4.0. Data is now the factory's bloodline. They no longer have to deal with an incomprehensible data lake but a constant stream of information that generates immediate value for our engineers."

“We chose SAS because they are the market leader in data analytics and have substantial experience in the manufacturing industry. In addition, SAS' expertise also aligned with Veramaris' ambition to scale data solutions”, says Hartmann.  

The control room of the production facility will be transformed after the implementation of SAS® Viya®. Veramaris' biotechnologists work with SAS data analysts to continuously improve the product and processes. Using SAS Viya, each data point is captured and, if necessary, visualized to provide the right insights. In this way, all the details can be made transparent. In the future, the new platform will also provide predictive insights into the Nebraska plant’s various processes and facilities.

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