Oceans offer good opportunities for sustainable economic development. More and more, energy, fisheries and transport infrastructures are being established offshore. However, this growing demand for maritime transport, resource extraction, offshore energy, fisheries and aquaculture, is threatening marine ecosystems and sustainable maritime activities.
The rational exploitation of oceans space and resources is seen as crucial to enhance European competitiveness in key areas such as renewable energy and aquaculture. In particular, offshore platforms that can combine many functions within the same infrastructure could offer significant benefits in terms of economics, optimising spatial planning and minimising the impact on the environment.
H2OCEAN is a project aimed at developing an innovative design for an economically and environmentally sustainable multi-use open-sea platform. Wind and wave power will be harvested and part of the energy will be used for multiple applications on-site, including the conversion of energy or running a multi-trophic aquaculture farm.
The unique feature of the H2OCEAN concept, besides the integration of different activities into a shared multi-use platform, lies in the novel approach for the transmission of offshore-generated renewable electrical energy through hydrogen that can be stored and shipped to shore as green energy carrier. This concept allows effective transport and storage of the energy, decoupling energy production and consumption, thus avoiding the grid imbalance problem inherent to current offshore renewable energy systems. Additionally, this concept also circumvents the need for a cable transmission system which takes up a significant investment share for offshore energy generation infrastructures, increasing the price of energy.
The integrated concept will permit to take advantage of several synergies between the activities within the platform significantly boosting the Environmental, Social and Economic potential impact of new maritime activities, increasing employment and strengthening European competitiveness in key economic areas. H2OCEAN builds on already on-going R&D activities of a partnership involving European leading industrial and academic partners from five countries within the fields of renewable energy, hydrogen generation, fish farming, maritime transports and related research disciplines.