SINTEF Ocean AS (SINTEF) is Scandinavia's largest independent research organisation. The research institute is strongly involved in the development of European aquaculture. Bridge-building between biological and engineering sciences is important for the institute to serve a more complex, advanced, future aquaculture industry with knowledge. It develops, organise and operate the large scale infrastructure specialised for serving RTDI on technology used in sea based aquaculture (within a licence of production of 2340 t salmon).
SINTEF offers two unique installations: 1) SeaLab SSO – Facility for Surveillance, Simulation and Operation (e-infrastructure for R&D within marine disciplines that enables connection of different infrastructures); and 2) ACE Facility for large scale testing of solutions for seabased aquaculture: 2 sites with industrial scaled salmon farms having up to 900.000 salmon kept in 4–6 circle cages (120m/157m in circumference and 12m/15m deep) at each farm, and in addition one environmental buoy and one welfare meter logging environmental conditions at each salmon site.

Name of the infrastructure: SINTEF ACE (SINTEF Aquaculture Engineering)
Location: Trondheim, Norway and industry scale salmon farming sites on the coast of Mid-Norway
Website address: 
Eleni Kelasidi


SINTEF ACE is an industry scale infrastructure developed for testing and verification of improved and new technical and operational solutions in sea-based aquaculture. . SINTEF has research licenses for industry scale salmon production, and this allows the offering of a combination of industry scale facilities for salmon farming, flexible technology test sites at different exposure levels, and state-of-the-art monitoring and communication equipment. The primary focus is on equipment and operations for the on-growing stages of salmon in exposed sea sites. The infrastructure will promote engineering developments for a more sustainable marine aquaculture production, also including the possibility to study the interaction between technology and biology. The infrastructure consists of salmon farming sites in four geographical locations outside the coast of Mid-Norway. This allows for experiments with different degrees of exposure, and different production cycles (time of year for deployment of fish.

SINTEF ACE is integrated in the SINTEF e-Infrastructure for secure and controlled access to laboratory facilities (SINTEF SeaLab). This includes support for data capture, storage and analysis of environmental and operational data. The e-Infrastructure also provides live video and on-line access to sensors and actuators, thus enabling remote configuration, monitoring and operation of equipment. Additional support tools, computing clusters and database servers as well as graphical processing equipment and displays are installed at SINTEF SeaLab in Trondheim. The picture below shows deployment of load shackles for measuring tension in anchoring systems. Data series are transferred via broadband connections to SINTEF SeaLab.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure

In order to meet industrial requirements, and to facilitate the implementation of scientific results, full-scale test facilities are needed. This will bridge the gap in the development circle between laboratory scale experiments and the application of new scientific knowledge in an industrial production. SINTEF ACE merges knowledge and technology from a wide range of disciplines into a single large-scale environment, adding the necessary operation, management and engineering aspects in order to put the results into a realistic context that is relevant for its application. The need for such services is confirmed by growing interest from education, research and industry. The current services are focused on industry scale salmon farming and on facilities for testing sea-based aquaculture technology. Technical personnel, scientists and equipment is available on site depending on the project requirements. All operational and project specific data from SINTEF ACE are stored at SINTEF SeaLab, and are made available through the e-Infrastructure. On-line remote access to SINTEF ACE contributes to more efficient use of resources during design, setup and monitoring of experiments, and also for analysis and dissemination of results. Equipment and personnel is available for sampling of fish, and facilities and support is offered for analysis of samples (lipids, proteins, DNA, microbiology).

Modality of access

Depending on the project requirements, four sites in different stages of the production cycles and different degrees of exposure (waves, currents) can be used. The smolt used in each cycle will have a documented genetic background, and low variance in treatment and handling. The sites/cages are equipped with sensors for continuous measurements for documentation of environmental conditions (oxygen, temperature, salinity, currents etc). Operational data (type of feed, feeding rates, sea lice treatments, biomass growth estimates etc) are also available. Infrastructure for efficient installation of project related equipment is available on every cage, including communications interfaces for remote monitoring and data transfer via SINTEF SeaLab. Reference measurements are supplied by an environmental monitoring buoy, also accessible through SINTEF SeaLab.
The modality of access is flexible, ranging from on-site visits on the farming sites, to remote access to data from other consortium infrastructures (via logon to SINTEF SeaLab). The experimental set-up has to be discussed and planned in advance with the facility provider, e.g. number of cages, sensor equipment, size and quantity of fish and quantity of fish samples. The e-Infrastructure communication network is divided into several VLAN’s (Virtual Local Area Networks). Access to the relevant VLAN and the resources on that VLAN is given on a per user basis (password protected). All connections to external data acquisition equipment (e.g. sensors, video cameras) are routed to a VLAN dedicated to this purpose, thus limiting the risk for unauthorized access to other resources.
Scientific and technical support will be available both for visits to SINTEF ACE and for remote access through SINTEF SeaLab. This includes boat transport between shore and farming sites, necessary safety equipment and clothing for operations at sea. On-site installation of project related equipment will be done by the technical support staff to minimize the risk for personnel and operations. Documented time series of environmental and operational data will be available through SINTEF SeaLab on a site/cage basis, along with environmental reference data for the coastal area. A limited number of fish samples will be analyzed on a monthly basis, these samples can also be used for project related special analysis. Scientific and technical support includes appropriate sampling and conservation of samples. In addition to live video feeds from SINTEF ACE, meeting rooms with video conferencing will be available, enabling visiting scientists to communicate with colleagues and other research groups during experiments.

Unit of Access

The unit of access is defined as one week, equalling the occupation of the SINTEF ACE facility during 5 days each of 7.5 hours for up to 2 persons.




Click the link above to learn about SINTEF ACE facilities and some of the great TNA projects that were carried out there during AQUAEXCEL2020. These facilities will be available for access in AQUAEXCEL3.0.