Vacuum AirLift™

Gallery Vacuum AirLift™  1
Gallery Vacuum AirLift™  1
February 2021
By Searen
Headquarters Cincinnati, OH 45209, USA

Vacuum AirLift™ - Sustainable water treatment solution for recirculating aquaculture systems enabling low cost, locally produced, high-quality fish

Raising fish in intensive closed production systems creates challenges for fish farmers. Water quality in fish farming systems rapidly deteriorates as fishes consume O2 and discharge CO2 as part of their respiration. Uneaten food and feces accumulate creating an unhealthy environment. This is further compounded by the spread of undesirable microorganisms such as algae, bacteria and viruses in the rearing system. To tackles these challenges, Searen developed Vacuum AirLift™ or VAL™, a simple multi-functional device that performs essential functions reliably and efficiently. The VAL™ is an enabling technology that makes recirculating aquaculture systems profitable and environmentally sustainable. Recirculating aquaculture systems produce high-quality protein and nutritious food in a controlled environment. High quality product requires precision control of the water condition. The VAL™ is a smart technology that provides water circulation, carbon dioxide and other undesirable gas stripping, oxygenation and particulate removal in a single simple device. The VAL™ uses a vacuum pump to power a microbubble airlift pump. The airlift pump provides low head water circulation. The microbubbles provide gas exchange allowing undesirable gases to be extracted by the vacuum. The microbubbles also attract fine particulates creating foam that is removed by the vacuum. Oxygen injected in the outgoing flow replenishes the dissolved oxygen level.

Key features

  • VAL™ reduces energy consumption up to one eighth the level required for competing equipment
  • VAL™ has been demonstrated to reduce pathogen loads by 99.9% in 12 hours, decreasing notably E. coli concentration from 16750 u/ml to 27 u/ml
  • In independent testing against other foam fractionators, the VAL™ was 45% more effective in reducing Total Suspended Solids (TSS) using 66% less energy than competing equipment
  • Due to its high energy efficiency VAL™ has a greater than 85% reduction in CO2 emissions
  • As part of a photo bioreactor based waste processor, VAL™ removed 96% of total suspended solids (TSS) and dissolved organics - Total Organic Carbon (TOC) was reduced from 210 to 7.8 mg/l
  • VAL™ does not produce any hazardous waste by products - it uses a purely physical process requiring no chemical additives providing a 100% reduction in consumables


  • The energy cost to operate VAL™ is as low as 15% of competing solutions
  • In a US fish hatchery, VAL™ provided a rate increase of 2.6 to 5.3 times depending on species
  • In a US fish hatchery, VAL™ provides a fast ROI and significant payback by reducing acquisition costs by 38% and operating cost by approximately 50%

Maturity Stage

  • Medium and large scale commercialization
  • Small scale commercialization
  • Initial market commercialization
  • Prototype testing in the real world
  • Prototype testing 1:1 in the lab

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The information set out above, is solely for the purposes of information and the Solar Impulse Foundation does not provide any guarantee as to its authenticity, completeness or accuracy. This information does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation to buy into, transact or to enter into any agreement with any of the parties or persons mentioned above. Potential investors or interested parties are solely responsible for their investment or business decisions and for performing any due diligence required by the circumstances.