The EU energy strategy “Energy 2020” has the objective of reducing greenhouse gasses by at least 20%. To reach this goal up to 140 GW of offshore wind farms are currently planned. As a result, offshore wind farms will take up large areas of available ocean space.

Even though the European Union is well placed to profit on the global growth in aquaculture, the production of the European aquaculture industry has stagnated. Lack of space, access to good quality water, and a very strict EU legislation for protection of the environment limit the further development of this industry. On top of this, the industry is characterized by small and medium sized companies that have difficulties in attracting seed and risk friendly capital.

The extensive offshore developments which will take place within the next 10 years will have to be optimized in order to reduce the energy costs, to find sufficient ocean space for both aquaculture and renewable resources but at the same time minimize the negative environmental impact.

Therefore MERMAID will develop concepts for the next generation of offshore platforms which can be used for multiple purposes. The project does not envisage building new platforms, but will theoretically examine new concepts, such as combining structures for energy extraction, aquaculture and platform related transport.

Wind Farm 

Example of a multi use platform

Example of multi-use management of a wind farm. The wind turbine density is artificially high to facilitate the presentation of the concept. From left to right: diving, scientific studies, aquaculture, fishing, tourism.
© Denis Lacroix, Ifremer and Malo Lacroix (Source: Lacroix and Pioch, 2011, p.133).