MERMAID develops concepts for the next generation of offshore platforms which can be used for multiple purposes, including energy extraction, aquaculture and platform related transport.
In the near future, the European oceans will be subjected to a massive development of marine infrastructures. The most obvious structures include offshore wind farms, constructions for marine aquaculture and the exploitation of wave energy.
The development of these facilities will increase the need for marine infrastructures to support their installation and operation and will unavoidably exert environmental pressures on the oceans and marine ecosystems. It is therefore crucial that the economic costs, the use of marine space and the environmental impacts of these activities remain within acceptable limits. Hence, offshore platforms that combine multiple functions within the same infrastructure offer significant economical and environmental benefits.
In order to fulfill EU strategies for reduction of fossil-based energy and to become a major player in sustainable aquaculture the MERMAID project aims to address the following key-questions:
- What are the best practices to develop a project on multi-use platforms?
- What are the accumulated effects of large scale structures on the marine environment?
- What are the best strategies for installation, maintenance and operation of a multi-purpose offshore platform?
- What is the economical and environmental feasibility of multi-use platforms?
It is essential that all work under the MERMAID project contributes directly towards real design concepts and industrial applications. For this reason test sites will be studied to develop innovative plans and designs for harvesting ocean energy, aquaculture and logistic support.
Four offshore test study sites with different environmental characteristics have carefully been selected for their specific challenges. The sites, which represent different environmental, social and economic conditions, are located at four different seas:
- The Baltic Sea - a typical estuarine area with fresh water from rivers and salt water.
- The trans-boundary area of the North Sea-Wadden Sea - a typical active morphology site
- The Atlantic Ocean - a typical deep water site
- The Mediterranean Sea - a typical sheltered deep water site.
With the results form these studies, a verified procedure will be created to select the most appropriate design options for a given off-shore area. This procedure should be generic so stakeholders and end users can use it for marine planning strategies.
- Guidelines for project development
- Knowledge and science base for multidisciplinary approach
- Decision support systems to support transport infrastructure
- Economical and environmental feasibility of MUP
For more information please visit the MERMAID website.