Mobile CAT® rental generators keep shrimp farm humming during hurricane matthew

As a shrimp and clam farmer, Bill Cox depends on Cat Rental Power to provide a constant source of power to his South Carolina aquaculture business.

The ability to pump fresh saltwater into a dozen ponds is critical for healthy shrimp, as is the continued operation of aerators that maintain proper oxygen levels.

“We have big ponds where we pump water from the creek and rivers with all over the farm, and we have to be able to supply water to each,” says Cox, who operates Island Fresh Seafood in Meggett, S.C. “The pumps have to run to maintain the water quality for the shrimp. The higher the water quality, the less stress on the shrimp, and the higher quality product you have to go to market—so it’s very important to have that.”

Having the ability to pump water through raceway water troughs is also critical to feed the clams, which feed off the algae and other organisms in the saltwater that comes from the nearby estuary.

“It’s all driven by power and we’ve got to have that power when we need it,” Cox says. “We can’t afford to have a week off with no power. In the aquaculture business you’ve got to be able to depend on your power.”

When storms or hurricanes threaten the area 25 miles south of Charleston, Cox simply switches from grid power to his backup generators to avoid any problems. When Hurricane Matthew hit the area in early October 2016, Island Fresh rode out the storm on generator power.

“You cannot imagine the stress on a farmer,” Cox says. “When we have these thunderstorms coming up and the hurricane season hits, it’s a stressful time—and you’re watching the weather every day. When you have these generators in place it provides tremendous peace of mind, because at any given time all you have to do is shut off shore power and switch over to generator power.”

Since its inception in 1992, Island Fresh has been leasing rental power from its Cat dealer, Blanchard Power Systems. 



“We’ve been dealing with the same group of people, and they’ve been very good to work with,” Cox says. “When we need backup power, we call them and have the generators delivered on short notice, or we can pick them up.”
Where he formerly ran 60 kW generators, the Cat gensets have become more efficient to the point where he now requires 45-50 kW to run the pumps and the aerators. Cox also likes the mobility of the trailer-mounted generators.

“What’s unique is they’re not just skid mounted generators, they’re trailer mounted,” Cox says. “If we have a situation where we need to run a pump in another part of the farm, we can literally just unhook four wires of the generator, throw the transfer switch, and move that generator with the truck or tractor to the other site. Then we can connect it to a box and fire up a set of pumps in a remote area. For us, the mobile aspect of these generators is fantastic.”

Cox also likes having the ability to flip a switch on the genset to go from single-phase to three-phase power. The generators that run the pumps require three-phase power, while the generators at the clam seed hatchery run on single phase.

“Another thing I like about these Cat rental generators is that they are very quiet,” he adds. “In the past, a lot of the generators were noisy, but they’ve got these generators set up now in boxes (enclosures) on trailers that are really, really quiet. It keeps the noise level down, so you can hear what’s going on. They’re just really set up well.”

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