Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for the Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation


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Aquaponics Food Production Utilising Waste Heat: Ponnod Prime

Here presented project is aimed at combining aquaponics food production with usage of waste heat. The main problem that vegetable growers in Europe are facing is the cost of heating in the winter. On the other hand, there is a large market of waste heat industry that does not know how to use their waste heat. Ponnod prime is an aquaponics system that will enable whole year local and fresh vegetable and fish production. For this it will use waste heat from industry processes, e.g. bakeries, breweries etc. to heat the water and the air in the aquaponics system.

Related sector

  • A - Agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • E - Water supply; sewerage; waste management and remediation activities
  • M - Professional, scientific and technical activities

SI Lead organisation

Ponika, research and development, Ltd. - Business actor ( Small private organisations (SME) )

SI Scope

Ljubljana/Slovenia Otovci/Slovenia (Slovenia)
( Croatia )

SI Process

Ponika’s main activity is developing and marketing sustainable aquaponic food production systems, both for households and commercial vegetables and fish growers. The expected result is setting up the aquaponic system for commercial food production in co-operation with the industry that possesses waste heat.

Link to H2020 SI Priorities

  • Climate change mitigation solutions
  • Solutions for water imbalances

SI Type

  • Product / Process - Aquaponics is highly eco-innovative process that has a key role to play in tackling global challenges such as water scarcity, food security, creating new green workplaces, lowering energy use and food miles. Aquaponics system in combination with waste heat recovery is using heat sources from the industry with waste heat that will efficiently heat air and water in the fully automated passive greenhouse to enable sustainable, premium quality food production that can also be grown in or nearby urban areas, on rooftops, in soilless industrial zones or even contanimated land. Vegetables and fish producers are facing main profitability loss in high costs of heating energy for production in the colder month as EU is mainly cold climate area.

SI Objectives

  • Re-use of waste heat from industry processes in aquaponics food production.
  • Seeting up a testing prototype facility 400m2 of commercial aquaponics food production system.
  • Joining aquaponics producers under the common brand “ponnod”.
  • Development of automated digital system for aquaponics system.
  • Education about aquaponics.
  • Setting up houshold aquaponics systems togehter with passive greenhouses.

SI Origin

The pilot aquaponic system is used for domestic use and it is non-profitable. Knowledge and research experiences gained at the pilot project have led to the development of more efficient and sustainable product (ponnod prime) using waste heat from the industry, due to high operational costs. In colder climates (with cold winters) yearly food production is financially demanding, especially due to heating costs of greenhouse.

SI Factors of success

  • Technological - Automatization of the control system.
  • Environmental - - Using waste heat from the industry processes. - Saving water (up to 90% in comparison to conventional food production).
  • Political - - Rising food self-sufficiency (ponnod mini-home aquaponics system). - Dissemination of knowledge about aquaponics food production through organised workshops.


  • Primary - There are two primary sources that are used in the product: waste heat and water. In the aquaponics system fish and vegetables are used in the natural cycle, in which plants are receiving nutrients from fish excretions, with the help of nitrogenous microbes cleaning the water from the fish for the plants. Ponnod prime is using the collected rainwater as a water source and the heat from the industries with waste heat, e.g. bakeries, breweries etc.