Karlsruhe University of Applied SciencesSustainable Fish Farming at Lake Victoria

Five months old fish, Project VicInAqua

Clean water is the basis for life, especially for nutrition and agriculture. In order to protect the sensitive ecosystem around Lake Victoria in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and to ensure food supply and health of the local population, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, in cooperation with further partners, has developed an efficient, flexible and robust system for wastewater treatment and reuse in fish farming and irrigation. Since October 2018, a demonstration plant has been in operation in the city of Kisumu in Kenya, which is also used for local capacity building through training and study visits.

„We like the innovative approach of VicInAqua which specifically addresses the problems experienced in Kenya and the other countries bordering Lake Victoria, Uganda and Tanzania. VicInAqua is not only about general technological and environmental progress, it is about proposing an African solution for efficient water reuse and wastewater pollution control.”

Susan Clare Adhiambo, Chief Fisheries Officer in charge of Kisumu East Sub-county at the Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (DALF) of Kisumu County, Kenya, which will continue to operate the pilot plant beyond project duration.

The Technology

The wastewater treatment unit uses a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) to reuse water and improve the quality of fish farming. In the RAS, fish spawn of particularly high quality are reared thanks to the constantly monitored water quality.

A new self-cleaning water filter consisting of a membrane bioreactor (MBR) enables combined treatment. These self-cleaning membrane materials contribute to an environmentally friendly long-term performance. An innovative, easy-to-use monitoring system allows the plant to be monitored via smartphone. The filtered wastewater flows back into the RAS and the surplus is also used for agricultural irrigation. The filtered excess sludge is used to produce biogas with further organic waste. Together with a photovoltaic system, the biogas provides a flexible, decentralised energy supply.

Steinbeis 2i GmbH helped conceptualize the EU proposal and supports the coordinator and project partners in the dissemination and exploitation of the project results, administrative and financial management and project communication.


„The VicInAqua project is developing an innovative solution that can be adapted for successful operation in Africa but also in further regions with water or food scarcity. It can ultimately contribute to develop new business opportunities for the local population.“

Professor Dr. Jan Hoinkis, project coordinator and professor at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences

Visit at University Karlsruhe, Foto: Marion Broda

An academic student exchange programme enabled ten students from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to learn more about the technologies from the scientific partners at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences as well as at the Institute of Membrane Technology and University of Calabria in Italy.

Five months old fish, Project VicInAqua

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Dr. Sandrine Doretto
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Dr. Sandrine Doretto

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