OPEC Pinpoints Best Wind-Aquaculture Combos
The OPEC project has found that it is technically feasible, but economic viability challenging, to combine certain marine energy devices with other activities such as aquaculture to reduce the costs of multi-use platforms at sea.
OPEC (Offshore Platform for Energy Competitiveness) identified a number of deployment cases that would be most suitable for future investment, such as integrating offshore wind electricity generation and shellfish farming.
The 15-month project found that partnering with floating wind developers to integrate limited aquaculture production, capable of offering a worthwhile revenue stream without major impact on platform cost, would also be beneficial.
In addition, engineering and pilot deployment of a wind+aquaculture OPEC platform to serve a small island developing state, where such a platform would deliver high socio-economic value, is said to be suitable for investment.
Although the technical feasibility aspect had a positive outcome, OPEC concluded that the economic viability of such a platform remains challenging and further work would be needed to optimize the design and bring together the right combination and scale of marine energy and other revenue-generating activities.
The project marked the replacement of conventional wind turbines with a kite system and the combination of an offshore port with wave energy capture in small island states as development possibilities which merit investigation.
The OPEC consortium comprises Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, Marine South East, Stellenbosch University, Houlder Eng and Beckett Rankine.
According to the partners, options are currently being explored to fund a follow-up project to look at the detailed engineering required for two pilot multi-use platforms, one in South Africa and one in the UK.