Oceans of Energy
Technology and Environment
We design floating platforms for renewable energy technology, capable of with-standing rough sea conditions for 20+ years. This is challenging – but made possible by our unique solutions.
The mooring system keeps the floating platform in place, which ensures reliable connections to the grid. Our mooring system is optimized and therefore enabling scale benefits and economically successful projects at sea.
Photovoltaic (PV) technology is a mature and economically feasible renewable energy source that can be used in nearly any region. Economic feasibility depends strongly on scale benefits at projects, and is therefore highly affected by space constraints. Can’t we move solar to the space-abundant seas?
We have highly qualified marine ecologists in our research team that monitor and assess the environmental impact of our offshore floating solar systems continuously. We want to be 100% in tune with the surroundings our systems are deployed in, leaving behind no negative footprint whatsoever.
It is our mission to bring abundant clean energy to the world using the vast space at sea without jeopardising nature. We need to be absolutely sure that adverse effects to all trophic levels of the marine ecosystem are non-existent or negligible. In fact, we strive for long lasting positive impact on the local ecosystem (see Synergies). Our highly qualified marine ecologists carry out research in-house and collaborate with universities and independent research institutes. We test scientific hypotheses through numerical and physical modelling, field testing and continuous monitoring. We want to be 100% in tune with the surroundings our systems are deployed in, leaving behind no negative footprint whatsoever.
ECOSYSTEM EFFECTS ON TECHNOLOGY
A challenge for the solar market is to make sure the solar panels remain clean so sunlight can penetrate on the photovoltaic cells. Onshore solar farms struggle with a reduction in efficiency due to the adhesion of particles, dust, bird droppings and leaves. The regular and natural cleaning of seawater will take care of this in our design. Besides, we are excited to be (field) testing with specifically designed PV coatings to prevent marine growth and biofilm to develop on the glass of the PV units. We also expect biofouling underneath our platforms and will monitor this closely from day one of deployment with the help of an independent research institute.
Environmental monitoring is an essential contributor for a successful roll-out of floating solar technology. The timely planning of monitoring activities helps us to recognise environmental impacts and opportunities, and implement mitigation measures if necessary at an early stage. We aim to monitor the effect of the floating solar platforms on light attenuation, turbidity, chlorophyll α and temperature. We use cameras to monitor the presence of marine birds on the floating platforms and possible aggregations of wildlife underneath the platform. A reference buoy can be deployed to provide a baseline dataset.
Oceans of Energy is always focused on the future, with sustainability and circularity highly valuated. Minimizing the environmental impact is incorporated in the fundaments of our company. As much as possible, we design for repurposing and regularly perform Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) assessments on our prototypes. We do this to make sure we understand and can assess the impacts of our design throughout its life cycle, and identify hotspots early on in our development process. We try to work with materials that can expand the lifespan of the product (we design for 25 years at sea for the moment), be easily disassembled at the end of life. At the same time we are always looking for materials with the least environmental footprint possible.
Since wind speed and solar irradiation are complimentary towards each other, integrating of floating solar PV panels into offshore wind farms could result in more efficient use of the offshore energy grid. This results in the multi-use of space in the North Sea and has the potential to increase the energy efficiency on site.
Safe drinking water is increasingly threatened in dry coastal regions. We are delivering desalination clean energy to provide unlimited, safe, and reliable fresh water production at dry coastal regions without compromising the valuable space at coasts.
We are striving to help restore marine ecosystems worldwide by offering our floating infrastructure and clean electricity to revolutionise coral restoration efforts and co-create fish sanctuaries.
Combining solar energy production and aquaculture in an offshore environment can have significant positive impacts. We have an award-winning design that combines our system with the cultivation of hang culture mussels. We will continue to explore the synergies between our floating solar technology and aquaculture to grow sustainable proteins and seaweed.