Innovative Multi-purpose offshore platforms: planning, design & operation

Windmil picture

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.

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

The 28 partner institutes forming MERMAID are Universities (11), Research institutes (8), Industries (5) and Small and Medium Enterprises (4 SME's), from many regions in EU. The group represents a broad range of expertise in hydraulics, wind engineering, aquaculture, renewable energy, marine environment, project management as well as socio-economics.

MERMAID is one of three EU-FP7 funded projects selected for funding in response to Ocean 2011 on multi-use offshore platforms (FP7-OCEAN.2011-1 “Multi-use offshore platforms"). This project shall have a cost of 7,4 million euro. The European Union has granted a financial contribution of 5,5 million euro.