Shrimps in Tyrol? What might sound strange at first has become part of Markus Schreiner’s everyday life, as he built the start up “Alpengarnelen” (engl. Shrimps of the Alps) with his cousin Daniel Flöck. For many years now, the two cousins from Hall in Tyrol have farmed White-Tiger-Shrimps free from chemicals and antibiotics. On November 19th 2019, the sustainable shrimp farm received the prize for innovation in the category “service innovations”.
It was a documentation about the “dirty” shrimp industry, which got the two cousins into thinking: “There has to be a way to farm shrimps under different circumstances. Without using medication, pesticides, without producing tons of residual water, destroying mangrove woods and without long transportation in freezer containers!”
So, the cousins decided to do it on their own, but lack of specific knowledge and skepticism from others were only two of the many obstacles they needed to overcome. However, through consistent and intensive research, they managed to transform a simple aquarium in their basement into Austria’s first indoor shrimp farm, which grew between 200 and 300 kilogram of shrimps each year.
Even though their idea was not taken seriously in the beginning, it eventually hit the nail on the head. Numerous hotels and restaurants wanted to serve the local shrimp straightaway, and “Alpengarnelen” sold out immediately. In 2019, the start-up founders could even convince an investor of their idea, which enabled a relocation of their small farm into a bigger facility in Thaur, leading to an annual shrimp production of ten tons.
MCI alumnus Schreiner confirms that his work still has a lot to do with mechatronics. “My studies have been a great help when it came to developing and constructing several devices. [...] It might sound strange, but without mechatronics, our aquaculture facilities would certainly not work [...]. From machine construction to electrical engineering to programming, etc – a wide range of specific knowledge is needed, which makes our farm a true playground for a mechatronics engineer like me.”
The MCI – and the mechatronics department in particular – congratulate the young entrepreneurs on their great accomplishment.
WKO prize for innovation 2019
The founders of "Alpengarnelen" Daniel Flock (left) and Markus Schreiner (right).
Two of four culture pools that "Alpengarnelen" uses for farming their shrimps
Markus Schreiner with a "self-made" white tiger shrimp