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Last update: May 2021

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The SIMTAP project


Self-sufficient Integrated Multi-Trophic AquaPonic systems for improving food production sustainability and brackish water use and recycling


  • 2019-2022
  • 1 450 000 €
  • Coordinator: University of Pise (Italy)
  • SAS contact: Joël Aubin
  • SAS research axes: Integrated Assessment, Design
  • Website
  • Keywords: Hydroponic; Aquaculture; Aquaponics; Environmental impact; Fish nutrition; Food safety; LCA; LCC; DSS; Emergy; Recirculating agriculture system; Renewable source of protein; Water resources management


The objective of this project is to develop, in different climate and production contexts, an ecosystem-based approach for marine fish production and crop cultivation, in a circular economy perspective.

The project will develop and test a Self-sufficient Integrated Multi-Trophic AquaPonic (SIMTAP) system combining saltwater hydroponic production in greenhouses and in-land aquaculture. SIMTAP will make use of different cultivation units for primary producers (plants, algae), fish (e.g. sea bream, sea bass, flat fish, mullets, etc.), and deposit/filter feeders (e.g. bloodworms and mussels), which are all interconnected, in a closed re-circulating system. In this system, the wastes from one level of the multi-trophic cultivation system are recycled and become the inputs (e.g. fertilizer, feed) for another. Enhancing the integration, SIMTAP enables the reduction of the environmental impact of the food production-chain. Moreover, SIMTAP can re-use brackish water from open-loop crop soilless systems, in a cascade effect acting as a bioremediation/wastewater treatment of effluents from greenhouse cultivations, or other brackish wastewater, and as a recycling of nutrients, closing the SIMTAP cycle.

SIMTAP systems will be developed and tested in different Mediterranean contexts, considering different technological levels and potential integration with the existing greenhouses hydroponic productions and aquaculture systems, thus allowing to create employment, contribute to a balanced territorial development and reduce the environmental impact of fish feed production and hydroponics. Moreover, the project aims to experimentally test the effectiveness and performance of SIMTAP systems in terms of food production and quality, energy, water and other resource supply and consumption. LCA, LCC, energy and emergy assessment of SIMTAP will be also performed, and user’s manuals, guidelines and supports to policies will be provided.


"Aquaculture, ce qui marchera Demain"

SAS staff involved