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Multi-use affordable standardised floating Space@Sea

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Space at Sea (Multi-use affordable standardised floating Space@Sea)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-10-31

The majority of people live in coastal areas. Climate change and the consequential sea level rise threaten habitability of coastal areas. Floating islands can offer a solution for coastal expansion which are capable of facing the threats of climate change. In order to make these islands affordable, Space@Sea proposes a modular floating island concept which consists of multiple smaller floaters connected together to form one large island. In Space@Sea this concept was developed and applications of activities on top were demonstrated.
In order to develop these modular floaters, numerical simulation models needed to be adapted. Where numerical models are capable of simulating multiple floating bodies and their interaction, the number of bodies usually is limited. A floating island can consist of 80 floaters or more, going beyond the capabilities of most numerical codes. To achieve this at an acceptable simulation speed, numerical codes were simplified and these simplifications were validated against dedicated model tests. Validation of the codes proved that the codes are well capable of catching the physical phenomena.
With the validated numerical codes the dimensions of the floaters were designed as well as the connections between the floaters and the mooring of the island to the seabed. One important aspect in the design is modularity and multi-use of the islands. Square floaters resulted from weighing the requirements with a size of 45x45 and 95x95, concluding a gap width of 5m.
Within the Space@Sea project four applications were demonstrated:
•Energy maintenance hub : this showed to be an economically attractive alternative to present day approaches to maintenance for deep water.
•Living and rural extension: Although economically it may not be so attractive, social benefits still make this an attractive solution.
•Aquaculture: Single-use islands for aquaculture proved not economically feasible. aquaculture should be done on floating islands on small scale to support the people living on the island.
•Transport and logistics: for shallow waters the solution is more expensive than land reclamation, deeper water however makes floating a more attractive solution. Technical feasibility was proven in the project.
Although Space@Sea limited the demonstration of the application to these four, many other applications are possible.
Single-use and multi-use business cases for floating islands for selected locations were studied. This showed that some applications can benefit individually from floating solutions while others require the multi-use aspect to share costs and/or create a market. Locations for the business case demonstrations have been selected, one on the North Sea and one in the Mediterranean. A HAZID was performed for the elaboration of a risk register to monitor the risks and regulatory issues. The risk register will be filled out in the second part of the project. Partners have worked on updating and validating the numerical codes to be used in the design of the mooring. This was done in close cooperation with partners focussing on adjustment of numerical methods. Model tests were done to be used for the validation. Space@Sea furthermore delivered a mooring solution for the Mediterranean, it seemed that the North Sea mooring was not technical feasible without the use of a breakwater to reduce the wave loads in this shallow water location. Partners developed the basic floater design and the detailed design, including solutions linking the individual floaters. Where the project started with triangular floaters, during the project in close cooperation with the application work packages, it was decided that square floaters would better fit the requirements. Installation and maintenance research focussed on transporting the floaters to the site, mooring them to the seabed and monitoring the condition of the floaters for maintenance.
Various applications and activities on the floating were designed. The energy hub was designed as well as ways of generating energy from the relative motions between the floaters. Living facilities and housing on floaters was designed. Partners have looked into aquaculture for sea bass and mussels. The preferred type of cargo for the demonstration location just outside the Schelde river was selected to be containers.
Integrating all the developments started with collecting the requirements of the various applications. The demonstration consisted of a technical demonstrator in July 2020 where essential components were measured in a range of environmental conditions in the MARIN Offshore Basin. In October 2020 demonstration tests were done to showcase the concept to the press and the audience at the WCFS 2020 conference. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, this demonstration was streamed and could not be attended by audience.
The project management was coordinated by MARIN and TU Delft. All work and results have been disseminated through the project website, relevant social media channels and a large number of presentations at events. The highlights are the following:
•Project coordinator represented the Space@Sea research during the Community of Practice Noordzee, Den Haag, the Netherlands, 20 September 2018
•Project coordinator and offshore living leader presented on living at sea and the contribution of Space@Sea to these development during Kuststad Den Haag, Living at sea, Scheveningen, the Netherlands, 19 October 2018
•Space@Sea has a special edition on the Frontiers in Marine Science website on floating islands. Multiple papers have been published throughout the second reporting period on this open access platform. Some papers are still in the reviewing process at time of writing of this paper.
•Space@Sea presented the project final results at the World Conference on Floating Solutions – Paving the Waves 2020 which included a special session on Space@Sea. October 6-8, 2020.
Exploitation of the concept was considered throughout the project focussing on uptake of the result by stakeholders that can bring floating islands to the next level. Barriers for exploitation have been identified throughout the project and summarised in the final report being mainly on regulatory and governance issues. A roadmap for deployment of multi-use floating island resulted from the project which will be published early 2021.
In the first reporting period hydrodynamic simulations of multiple bodies were brought to the next level. Where the state of the art at the beginning of the project was simulations of one a few bodies and the interaction was possible at sufficient speed, progress in Space@Sea has made simulations of more 80 bodies possible at acceptable simulations speeds.
Currently no regulations are directly applicable to activities on floating islands. Regulations from the traditional oil and gas offshore industry are probably too strict for most activities while land based regulations do not leave room for the offshore aspect. In order to start discussions on rules and regulations specifically for floating islands, the Space@Sea concept could act as a starting point for these discussions. Space@Sea partners are in the process of identifying gaps and issues in the regulations to be addressed.
Floating port as part of the Space@Sea Demonstration
Floating city example
Ship moored in floating port