The Blue Accelerator was already a testing ground for aquaculture. Construction of a solar park will start in 2021, as well as tests with alternative solar panel structures, to develop hybrid energy parks.
Colruyt Group’s test installation for aquaculture consists of yellow floats that are connected to a main line below sea level.
Various constructions will be attached to this to grow mussels. With this longline system, the company wants to study growth development and test various techniques for installation, maintenance and harvesting.
In 2022, the Dutch company Oceans of Energy will also start building a floating solar park off the coast of Ostend, part of the European project EU-SCORES. Approximately 15 million euros is available from Horizon 2020 funds.
The installation is connected to a mains connection on the shore. The aim is to supply 3,321 MWh to the Belgian grid.
The capacity of offshore wind turbines will almost triple by 2030 to provide green electricity for almost all households in Belgium. In order to succeed in this ambition, it is important that the offshore energy zones in the North Sea are used optimally. Other forms of energy generation at sea, such as wave energy and solar energy, play an important role in this.
For example, the MPVAquaproject consortium, consisting of Tractebel, DEME, Jan De Nul, Soltech and UGent, are using this location to test their prototype of specially developed solar panel structures in a maritime environment.
By placing it between the windmills of an existing wind farm, the energy obtained can be doubled. This test will also start in 2022.
The EU-SCORES project, with POM West Flanders as a Belgian partner, aims to pave the way for affordable hybrid offshore energy parks in Europe by 2025. The major challenge is to make solar parks at sea resistant to the impact of the salt from the water or the destructive forces of the waves.
The Blue Accelerator team based at Ostend Science Park, has also plans to use the platform to test flying, sailing and diving drones. The possibilities of drones are extensive: monitoring wind farms, monitoring marine biological life, transport or carrying out repair work.
Check the video of Focus WTV (Dutch).