A European Consortium is Trying to Build Floating Ocean Spaces

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A consortium of seventeen European partners is trying to create floating workspaces at sea by developing a standardized, cost-efficient, modular island with low ecological impact. Four applications for floating ocean spaces are under study: farming, transport and logistics hubs, energy hubs and living.

The project, called Space@Sea is partly funded by EU’s Horizon 2020 research program. It is coordinated by MARIN, the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands. First steps include determining the most suitable shape of the floaters to minimize motion at sea and working with offshore specialists to design a shared mooring solution in combination with a remote monitoring and sensing system to reduce installation and maintenance costs.

Floating spaces at sea are intended for uses including developing, generating, storing and maintaining sustainable energy such as offshore wind, tidal energy, wave energy and floating solar panels; loading and transporting cargo in coastal areas with little existing infrastructure; cultivating food such as seaweed and fish; and building housing and recreation close to the water.

“As sea level rises, cities become overcrowded and more activities are carried out at sea, raising the dikes and reclaiming land from the seas are perhaps no longer an effective solution,” said Olaf Waals, MARIN project manager and concept developer. “An innovative alternative that fits with the Dutch maritime tradition is floating ports and cities.”

European partners include MARIN, Deltasync, DST, Nemos, TU Delft, Mocean Offshore, TU Hamburg Harburg, Bluewater Energy Services, University of Rostock, Gicon-Grossmann, Wageningen University, University Duisburg-Essen, TU Graz, Waterstudio, Icepronav, Val Fou and DEME.

Watch the prototype testing at the MARIN offshore basin in the video below.

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