ABB drives and motors help increase sustainable aquaculture in Chile

ABB drives and motors help increase sustainable aquaculture in Chile

The Owurkan is a clinical vessel that traffics in the Calle Calle river in Valdivia Chile. It’s specially designed to improve the therapeutic treatment of Salmon. The vessel uses ABB variable speed drives and high-efficiency motors to control the operation of the propulsion system onboard the Owurkan. It has resulted in an energy reduction of 20 % ensuring sustainable aquaculture.

The “owurkan” was a shaman or a healer for the kawéskar, an ancient tribe living in the south of Chile. The first ship of the SalmoClinic company was named after the owurkan. It works as a parasite controller in the salmon industry with low environmental impact. The ship, one of a kind in the world, was built in Chile with ABB technology.


“The aim of this ship is to provide specialized treatments to salmons through fresh water bathes and controlled drugs. In this way, the discharge of antiparasitics to the ocean is reduced between 97% and 99% in comparison to traditional methods,” expressed Hans Kossmann, marine biologist and founder of SalmoClinic.

More than six years of research, development and innovation are contained in the ship “Owurkan” and materialized in technical elements, such as a pond of continuous movement, a plant of reverse osmosis, plants of oxygen generation, and labs, among other equipment.

The ship was designed and built in the shipyard, Asenav, in Valdivia. It was developed from the beginning to operate in a sustainable way with a diesel-electric propulsion system based on ABB motors and converters.

“It is an honor to be part of a unique development in the world as it is the ‘Owurkan’, completely intended for sustainable aquaculture. It is not the first time we associate with ABB. We had done it on the Wellboat Patagón IX, X, and the XI, currently being built. We had excellent results and, now, we are repeating the experience with even more ABB technology,” mentioned Heinz Pearce, General Manager of Asenav S.A.

Martín Capó, Lead Business Area Manager of ABB Motion in Latin America, explained that the propulsion system of Owurkan, made up of electric motors and variable speed drive from ABB, allows for the reduction of energy consumption of approximately 20% compared to a diesel propulsion system. Therefore, it reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases on an identical scale.

“We are proud that our technology is part of this project since it goes hand in hand with our mission of making the world go round while saving energy every day. This is a sample of our purpose of contributing to the transformation of industries and societies with the use of technological innovation to create a sustainable future. Specifically, we are extremely proud of supporting this innovation from Chile, one of the leading countries in the salmon industry,” said Martín Capó.

Hans Kossmann claimed that this system and the treatment method is patented by SalmoClinic: “We estimate that the benefits of this technology will imply a demand of at least five ships for the Chilean market, and we expect to export this solution from the far south of our country to the world.”

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