EMFAF Flagship 2021 projects in the Atlantic: FLORA & AquaWind

11/04/2024

Almost two years after their Kick-off, the two Flagship project on innovative multi-use in the Atlantic have achieved a lot. From developing cutting-edge technology to implementing ground-breaking solutions, these projects are making a significant impact in protecting the ocean.

Back in 2021, the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) granted over 5.5 million euros (under EMFAF Flagship call 2021 call for proposals to seven innovative and sustainable projects to achieve the goals of the relevant sea basin strategy – two of them in the Atlantic. The projects aim to support the Atlantic Maritime Strategy to meet one of its main priorities that is expanding marine renewable energy. The specific objective is to support the development and uptake of multi-use between marine renewable energies (especially emerging ones such as wave, tidal and floating wind) and other blue economy activities or with nature protection (e.g. marine protected areas).

FLOating RAdar (FLORA), is currently developing an ocean station prototype (O.S.) powered by wave and solar energy that helps reduce the environmental impacts of human activities on ocean species by providing robust scientific data on marine animals for biodiversity conservation. The FOAK project was ideated by ocean energy technology developer Wedge Global.

Equipped with a novel sensor suite, the FLORA O.S. will gather data on birds and biodiversity, which is critical to Marine Spatial Planning, with a low environmental impact. The station’s power generation system will be hybridised with wave and solar energy, thus making the system more reliable as a remote oceanic sensor in different marine environments.

The team is actively working to make the FLORA technology from drawings to reality and the recent buoy construction brings the project one step closer to the demonstration in a real environment test site. The actual construction of the FLORA platform started during the summer 2023 in Composite Solutions workshop in Vagos, Portugal. The Composite Solutions team is manufactured the spar and the buoy: 2 key parts of the superstructure. Project partners, Composite Solutions and Daretech from Ireland, will soon travel to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria to work together on the remaining assembly phases as well as commissioning of the power + storage system. Finally the prototype will be installed by the project coordinator, Wedge Global. Tthe sensing program is being carried out by environmental agency and project partner Elittoral and Laminak Energy is spearheading the commercialization plan.

The final assembly of the prototype is currently being finalised and will be tested at sea in the Canary Islands in May 2024. Already there is a exploitation of the results where lessons learnt have been fed into the development of a [commercial] next generation project in the Netherlands by Wedge Global. 

 

We are happy to share that the iF DESIGN Award, one of the most prestigious and relevant design competitions in the world, honored the FLORA design in April 2024 with the iF DESIGN Award 2024 in the "Product /Industry" category. This accolade recognizes the creativity and industrial expertise embodied in the FLORA ocean station design.

To find more about this project, please check this article on CINEA's website

AquaWind, equally has achieved great milestones.   The project exemplifies how collaborative thinking and innovation can result in sustainable solutions for complex problems. It involves the development of a floating platform that not only supports a wind turbine (the W2Power prototype) but also provides facilities for aquaculture. The platform includes tanks for fish farming, as well as equipment for monitoring water quality and fish health. The aquaculture prototype will include a tailor-made design fish cage with novel net materials, high level of digitalisation and species diversification. On the other hand, the W2Power will consist of floating wind technology. The construction of the prototype is currently finalised and will be tested at sea in the Canary Islands in May 2024.

AquaWind will perform multi-use (MU) test trials joining marine energy production with live fish aquaculture in the Atlantic region for the first time. AquaWind will evaluate the cost reduction of commissioning, maintenance and operation of the combined activities as well as the environmental impact in the surrounding maritime space.The project has now successfully held its mid-project meeting at GOBCAN’s facilities in Las Palmas de Gran Canarias during March 12–13, 2024, bringing together the 9 project partners and experts in renewable energy and aquaculture to share progress and discuss future strategies for the project.
 

To find more about this project, please check this article on CINEA's website 

Additionally, in June, there will be a joint webinar on the Ocean Multi-Use Platform Demonstration. For more details, please check it here.